By Terry Trucco
Mercedes Benz Fashion Week is back. In other words, dancers from New York City Ballet aren’t the only sylphs swanning around Lincoln Center between February 6 and 13.
Small surprise nearby hotels have once again leapt into action, even though many of this winter’s shows have strayed from the Lincoln Center mother ship. (Sixty-nine designers are still showing in “the tents.”) Here’s what’s doing within walking distance – or a short cab ride – from the main event.
The Empire, situated across the street, lucked out when Fashion Week switched parks, moving from Bryant to Lincoln Center’s Damrosch in September 2010. With two large ground floor lounges, the velvet-curtained lobby bar is a darkly glamorous lair steps from the main event. DJ Paola Shea spins February 6 and 11 (the menu of specialty cocktails is available daily).
A Valentine’s Day bash – and post-Fashion Week blow-out — unfurls February 14 with fashion blogger Courtney Kerr of Bravo TV’s Courtney Loves Dallas, astrologer Susan Miller, a DJ and a cash bar.
The Empire, 44 West 63rd Street between Broadway and Columbus; 212 265-7400.
Hudson, five blocks south of Lincoln Center, gets its own taste of the action with ten shows scheduled at the hotel. The hotel’s bars and Commons restaurant aren’t doing anything special for Fashion Week, a hotel rep told me. Still, the wood-paneled Library is a great place to hole up with a drink — there’s a bar in the corner — and watch the shows steam live on your phone.
Hudson, 356 West 58th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues; 212 554-6000.
You can’t see the tents from the bar and lounge at the Mandarin Oriental New York. But who cares when you can sip a day-glo cocktail like a Pink Ginger Cosmopolitan and gaze out at Central Park — if you can score a window table 35 stories in the air. Prefer a morning view? Try the slimming Japanese Fashion Power Breakfast bento — salmon, rice, pickles, miso, tea and more — at the hotel’s Asiate restaurant.
The Mandarin Oriental New York, 80 Columbus Circle; 212 805-8800.
Last year Hotel Belleclaire, a gorgeous Emory Roth pile that was the W hotel of its day (Mark Twain slept here), unveiled a high-ceilinged lobby that doubled its size – and quintupled its style quotient. The hotel celebrates lobby and Fashion Week with two pop-ups — a blow-out bar overseen by hair wizard Sam Villa and a trunk show of Stella & dot bling. Blow-outs are free, but you need to book: www.samvilla.com/nyfw14. Trunk shows take over the lobby February 10 through 13, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Also free to guests during Fashion Week — organic Suja Juice drinks and Sixpoint Beer, brewed in Brooklyn.
Hotel Belleclaire, 250 West 77th Street at Broadway; 212 262-7700.
Tucked inside NYLO New York, a new hotel in an old Upper West Side building, is LCL bar and lounge. The bar sports industrial inflections. The lounge channels the 1920s. Both are ideal for winding down after a day at the shows with a chic retro drink like the Upper West Side Old Fashioned. Bonus: a pianist plays the red baby grand most nights.
NYLO New York, 2718 Broadway at 77th Street; 212 362-1100.