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A true party doesn’t start until the after-party, and no one knows this better than the fashion world. With the industry’s brightest names and most brilliant outfits on the guest list, a fashion event’s after-party is today’s hottest invite. Take fashion week — it’s one of fashion’s biggest cultural affairs— and its after-parties play a role in making it a staple.

Whether in New York, London, Milan, or Paris, everyone who’s anyone in the fashion sphere looks forward to the weeks in September and February where designers have the chance to display their seasonal collections. Typically, New York Fashion Week has over 230,000 attendees and brings in a total of $887 million in revenue to the city. Yet, what makes fashion week a societal scene rather than just a series of runway shows and presentations are its exclusive after-parties.

Filled with designers, models, editors, and celebrities, fashion week after-parties are a chance for the industry to connect over couture and champagne. These invite-only events take place at the respective city’s hottest clubs and restaurants to celebrate the effort that goes into making fashion week a success. Most of the time, after-parties are hosted by either a celebrity, designer, or are a collaboration between them. At New York Fashion Week this month, some of the parties to be seen at include Oscar de la Renta and Vogue100’s event at Primo’s, a LoveShackFancy celebration at The Plaza Hotel, and Christian Siriano’s after-party at Blond.

The traditional focus of fashion week is on the models, designers, and their outfits, but at the after-parties, this lens expands to highlight all attendees’ ensembles. Similar to runway shows, guests typically dress in outfits that honor the designer or host of the event. Their ensembles do not necessarily need to feature a specific brand from head to toe, but pay homage to it in some way: At the DKNY 30th Anniversary Party during September 2019 NYFW, Kendall Jenner wore an all-black dress and silk blazer but completed her outfit with a DKNY clutch. Hailey Bieber sported an Alexander Wang minidress at the Alexander Wang x Bulgari party of the same season.

These after-parties aren’t just a chance for famous figures to dance the night away, they are big business opportunities for brands. In the general event circuit, designers pay celebrity stylists anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 to see their clothes worn at a big event. They value the endorsement of celebrities donning their designs so much that they often write hefty paychecks, all so the brand can gain increased awareness and buzz to drive their sales.

Even though an after-party might have a strict guest list, brands still appeal to the masses through press coverage and social media chatter. Regardless of the city, every fashion, gossip, and culture publication features the hottest party scenes during fashion week. Paparazzi-captured pictures of celebrities publicize the hosts of the events, and inside looks of the party's best-dressed dominate Instagram feeds. Designers want greater awareness of their upcoming collections and there’s no better way to do that than to host the after-party of the season.

From the decor to the models to the makeup to the outfits themselves, everything about fashion week makes it an entrancing cultural event, celebrating not just fashion itself but the power of its influence on the social scene. Fashion week after-parties, though, are what truly mark it as the hottest societal staple. So raise a glass to fashion week, to its after-parties, and to a celebration of fashion, and don’t forget that the real party doesn’t start until the after-party begins.

Princess Diana
YSL Cut Out Bustier Mini Dress
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