BASIC Investigates a handful of the most notable and the most up -and- coming fashion weeks around the globe. Mark your calendars, and get ready to travel in style.


MONTHS IT OCCURS: September, February


#OF SHOWS: 280+

We have NYC to thank for the World’s first official Fashion Week . Through iterations of presentations were held in Paris, it was during war time 1943 that designers opted to showcase their wares en masse in response to limited access to the Parisian fashion industry.

American designs took center stage, changing global style forever and creating a veritable international haute couture holiday. In 1993, presentations at the Plaza moved to Bryant Park, allowing New York Fashion Week to become the behemoth celebration of New World design we know today. The catwalks have ushered in a myriad of trends, both aesthetic and social: New York was the first city in which models of color strutted the catwalks, and the first to present a hijab collection. NYFW offers enough parties, celebrity sightings, and generally Instagrammable moments that it would be forgivable to forget you’re there for the clothes, but the designs themselves—whether blown out proportions, romantic silhouettes, or slinky minimalist numbers— are consistently remarkable as well.

Powerhouse Players: Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Vera Wang, Elie Saab, Opening Ceremony, Halston Heritage, Jeremy Scott, Yeezy, The Row.
Famous front row: Michelle Williams, Elizabeth Olsen, Anna Wintour, Rick Owens, Chloe Sevigny, Ciara, Julianne Moore, Solange, Bill Cunningham.


1991- Michael Kor’s Runway – Soundtrack is so bass-heavy that the venue’s ceiling begins to collapse, raining debris on a front row of esteemed critics and photographers. A horrifies Kors offered to reschedule the show, but guests were so taken by the designer digs on display that they unanimously opted to stay for Cindy Crawford’s grand finale.

1994 – Kate Moss X Calvin Klein – Kate Moss is cast in Calvin Klein’s S/S runway show, shooting her to supermodel stardom and ushering in the Age of the Waif

2017- Opening Ceremony- True to their playful, irreverent aesthetics, Opening Ceremony decides to forgo their runway show in favor of a Spike Jones-directed contemporary dance and theater performance dissecting modern monogamy; in another shake-up, the performance was later opened to the public, with ticket sales donated towards Hurricane Harvey relief.


MONTHS IT OCCURS: February/March, September/October


#OF SHOWS 90+ shows, 40+ presentations

Paris has been showcasing groundbreaking fashion since the 19th century, when private salon shows were business as usual for the bourgeoisie, but it wasn’t until the early ‘70s that showcasing designers hit the mainstream.

Duly dubbed the Battle of Versailles, Paris’ first official show pitted five Parisian designers (Dior, YSL, Givenchy, Cardin, Ungaro) against their American counterparts (de la Renta, Halston, Blass, Anne Klein, Burrows) in an effort to raise funds to refurbish the titular palace. Guests went wild, and Paris Fashion Week was born. While the shows’ structure has changed in recent decades, PFW’s spirit of elegance and exclusivity has persisted: some shows have as few as 35 spots on their extremely VIP guest lists. If you can’t find a way into PFW’s fall and spring shows, don’t lose hope: separate annual events for mens- wear and haute couture ensure plenty of opportunities to keep fashionistas in the know.

Powerhouse Players: Chanel, Viktor & Rolf, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Maison Martin Margiela, Valentino, Thierry Mugler, Yves Saint Laurent, Nina RiccI.
Famous front row: Cara Delevingne, Karlie Kloss, Rowan Blanchard, Nicolas Ghesquière, Michelle Williams, Keira Knightley, Bianca Jagger, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Olivia Palermo, Winnie Harlow, Isabelle Huppert.


1947 – Christian Dior – Christian Dior sparks a feminine fashion revolution when he reveals the “New Look,” a sensuous cinched- waist, full-busted silhouette that scandalized post-war audiences— before selling out and defining decades of dressing.

2008 – Valentino – After 45 years in fashion, Valentino Garavani officially retires with a blowout show in the Rodin Museum. His models, dressed in identical flowing red gowns, flanked the acclaimed designer and filled the museum for a fiery sunset of a

2015- Rick Owens – Rick Owens manages to shock (and delight) even the most jaded of fashion buffs when the edgy designer sends a slew of male models down the runway sans bottoms.


MONTHS IT OCCURS: February/March, September/October


#OF SHOES: 65+ shows, 80+ presentations

True to Italy ’s renaissance roots, Milan Fashion Week offers a particularly painterly spin on high fashion. Shows are held in historical locations like the Neoclassical palace Palazzo Serbelloni or en plein air outside the Milan Cathedral.

Fine art sensibilities pervade the designs themselves as well, with billowing silhouettes in sumptuous palettes from renowned houses like Prada, Gucci, and Dolce & Gabbana. The vibe is decadent, romantic, and delightfully over-the- top, but it’s rarely stuffy. Opportunities for up- and-coming talent, as well as Italy’s signature dolce vita joie de vivre, keep Fashion Week fresh.

Powerhouse Players: Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, Gucci, Fendi, Etro, Missoni, Prada, Pucci, Tom’s, Marni, Jil Sander, Max Mara, Ferragamo
Famous front row: Bella Hadid, Olivia Palermo, Donatella Versace, Lara Stone, Rita Ora, Caroline Daur, Chloe Grace Moretz


2017- Donatella Versace – Donatella Versace reunites the glamazons who created the modern supermodel: Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen, Claudia Schiffer, and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy strutted the runway.

2018- Moncler- Moncler’s 2018 multi-artist Genius project, which transformed the brand’s signature puffer jacked into living tableaux of fallen snow angels and creepy-meets-couture full-body duvet dresses by Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli.

2018 – Alessandro Michele- Alessandro Michele continues his reign as Gucci’s king of all that’s weird and wonderful by incorpo- rating props both fake and very much alive and real. Crowd-wowing highlights included third eyes, baby dragons, and models carrying replicas of their own heads.


MONTHS IT OCCURS: February/March, September/October


#OF SHOWS: 5+ shows, 80+ presentations

Japan has long been lauded by the West for its boundary-pushing aesthetics, and you’ll find plenty of space-age silhouettes and sleek, innovative texture play at Tokyo Fashion Week. The focus here falls squarely on streetwear: expect streamlined silhouettes executed in comfy fabrics and slouchy shapes elevated by designer details like high-voltage hues and textiles usually reserved for haute couture. In true streetwear form, TFYW is also an impressive venue for sneakerheads, and high fashion footwear takes center stage alongside apparel. TFW paired with Amazon for the spring 2017 season, offering even more opportunities for emerging designers to strut their stuff. And if the runways themselves don’t satiate your passion for fashion, you only need look outside: Japan’s famous street style goes full force, offering the newest and coolest in clothing, hair, and makeup.

Powerhouse Players: Sacai, Undercover, Ambush, Yoshio Kubo, Hender Scheme
Famous front row: Ai Tominaga, Tyler, the Creator, Hidetoshi Nakata, Snyder, Irene Kim, Kiko Arai, Yuka Mannami


2015 – Bobbie Tanabe – Renowned model scout Bobbie Tanabe takes over the majority of TFW’s casting. Working with the country’s kawaii obsession, Tanabe opened the rest of the world up to the cutesy aesthetic.

2016 – Amazon X Tokyo Fashion Week – Amazon becomes Tokyo Fashion Week’s leading sponsor, expanding the event’s reach and drawing in global buyers, critics, and talent.

2018- Sakai X Undercover – Sakai x Undercover combine their radically different – though equally sought-after – design sensibilities together for a collaboration show that caters to bloggers and influencers as much as it did IRL celebs for a fully futuristic experience.


MONTHS IT OCCURS: April, October


#OF SHOWS: 50+

South Africa Fashion Week represents a continent of talent, so it ’s no surprise that one of Africa’s longest-running fashion events is a celebration of diverse and creative designs.

Here, you’ll find safari-inspired tailoring, traditional tribal dyeing techniques, and hand-crafted detailing from any of Africa’s 54 countries – all paired with sleek silhouettes and a modern aesthetic vision. The focus is on emerging designers, with talent searches and competitions for students and up-and-coming artists. In addition to supporting newer designers, South Africa Fashion Week also boosts the local fashion industry by offering trade shows alongside cat- walk presentations. Translation: You can buy your favorite looks right off the runway, rather than having to wait a season. Biannual shows offer womenswear, footwear, accessories, and jewelry from across the continent; an annual menswear showcase and de- signer pop ups across the country round out SAFW’s offerings.

Powerhouse Players: Black Coffee, Rich Mnisi, Thebe Magugu, Pichulik Africa, AKJP, Maria McCloy
Famous front row: K Naomi, Thshepi Vundla, Tumi Voster, Katleho Sinivasan, Maps Maponyane.


2015- #weareafrica – In celebration of Africa Month, South Africa Fashion week throws two cross-continental events. Aptly dubbed the #WeAreAfrica Fashion Spectaculars, the shows featured Pan-African designs to honor creativity and open dialogue among creators from a range of countries and cultures.

2016- gq x safw – GQ, the magazine and media brand beloved to well-heeled gentlemen across the globe, joins forces with SAFW to provide a platform for emerging menswear designers and showcase African talent to a global audience.

2017 – Woolworths – Retail behemoth Woolworth’s launches South Africa’s first sustainable fashion capsule. 10 local designers – including Thebe Magugu and Rich Mnisi – displayed a range of sustainably produced vanguard looks.


MONTHS IT OCCURS: September, February


#OF SHOWS: 80+ shows

Britain’s foremost fashion event honors its counterculture roots with experimental and avant garde antics that include models spray painted by robots, nudity, and front rows that seat rockstars and royalty side-by-side.

It’s not uncommon for a show to include dance numbers or live demonstrations – Hussein Chalayan once converted chair covers and a coffee table into a capsule collection in front of a live audience – and innovative emerging talent is as sought after as established brand showcases. While there’s plenty of room for more traditional tastemakers (houses such as Burberry and Temperley London always consistently host a crowded catwalk), LFW is best appreciated with an air of irreverence. Designers known for their cheeky sensibilities, such as Vivienne West- wood, House of Holland, and Edwin Mohney, have all wowed crowds and garnered critical acclaim on recent London runways.

Powerhouse Players: Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, Hussein Chalayan, Burberry, John Galliano, Philip Treacy, Stella McCartney, Alice Temperley
Famous front row: Emma Watson, Princess Diana, David and Victoria Beckham, Alexa Chung, Pixie Geldof, Daisy Lowe, Kate Moss, Queen Elizabeth.


1992 – Vivienne Westwood – Vivienne Westwood introduces us to posh-but-punk plaids at the beginning of the 90s iconic obsession with all things grunge. Naomi Campbell famously toppled from Westwood’s runway in her sky- high platforms – luckily for her, that moment was before Instagram.

1999- Hussein Chalayan – In the dark ages of tech, Hussein Chalayan’s conceptual couture astonishes audiences when he dresses model Audrey Marnay in sleek fiberglass mechanized to mimic an airplane preparing for takeoff.

2008 – Matthew Williamson – Matthew Williamson celebrates his 10-year anniversary with a surprise Prince concert. Our purple overlord dropped in to perform among the designer and models.




#OF SHOWS: 90+

Latin America’s preeminent fashion week focuses on regional flavor, highlighting the best and brightest of one of the world’s most dynamic and diverse countries.

The fifth largest fashion week (after The Big Four– London, Paris, New York, and Milan), SPFW understandably boasts a bevy of beach and resort wear. That isn’t to say, however, that the dress code is strictly casual: among the playful colors and textures, you’ll find elevated details like decadent ruffles and embroidery. The show-stopper? Updated takes on bordado richelieu, a traditional Brazilian lace pattern that adds elegance to everything from silk gowns to bikinis. The designers skew heavily local and independent, meaning that guests get the scoop on unique and locally made garments.

Powerhouse Players: À La Garçonne, Aqua de Coca, LAB, Lino Villaventura, Rosa Chá, Coven, Oskar Metsavaht, Fause Haten, Patricia Bonaldi
Famous front row: Gisele Bündchen, Demi Moore, Xuxa and Sasha Meneghel, Di Ferrero, Arthur Nory, Paris Hilton, Christina Aguilera


2016- Joao Pimenta – Designer João Pimenta presents the Yasuke collaboration with cult streetwear label LAB. The show and line, which merged elements of African and Japanese fashion and music and featured no gender classifications, hinted at a bright future for the diverse country’s many cultures.

2018 – Ana Claudia Michaels – Model Ana Claudia Michels breaks body barriers when she flaunts a baby bump under her bikini at Agua de Coca.

2018 – Gustavo Silvestre- Designer Gustavo Silvestre holds his 2018 show inside a Brazilian prison, bringing a political bent to his brand as well as making a difference in the community— the show-stopping pieces were the fruits of Projeto Ponte Firm, an educational initiative that teaches inmates to sew and crochet.


MONTHS IT OCCURS: March, October



On social media outlets used majorly in other parts of the world, Beijing Fashion Week is still somewhat under the radar. That doesn’t mean, however, that the bi-annual fashion fest is anything to sniff at; since partnering with Mercedes Benz in 2011, the world’s fastest-growing luxury market has be- come home to the largest show in the Asia-Pacific Area. Expect traditional Chinese embroidery paired with sleek, futuristic minimalism, with touches of Western influence from established fashion houses and emerging designers alike. While the vibe leans towards history and national culture—recent years have paid homage to cheongsam design and the ancient Tang Dynasty— there’s plenty of room for innovation, too, with over 3,300 young designers and models flocking to the show’s emerging design competitions.

Powerhouse Players: Li Weigang, The Atelier, Angel Chen, Ne-Tiger.
Famous front row: Han Huo Huo, Yao Chen, Chen Shu.


2012 – Ne-Tiger China’s oldest luxury brand Ne-Tiger elevating centuries-old silhouettes with decadent hand-embroidered details for a luxe now-and-then mashup

2013 – Mao Geping – Renowned makeup artist Mao Geping awes audiences by bedecking models’ faces with unconventional materials like punk pyramid studs, clock cogs, and delicate, dynamic ropes of colored crystal.

2014 – Pollution Chic – In response the country’s environmental challenges, models don haute couture smog masks for a“Pollution Chic” themed Fashion Week.