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10 Most Fashion-Conscious Cities in the World

How can you tell how fashion-conscious a city is? By the amount of attention it devotes to its fashion show. Here are 10 places that pull out all the stops for style—and the best spots for people-watching in each.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Stockholm Jan. 29–Feb. 1, 2012

Where to Hang Out: The boutique hotel Berns Salonger hosts most of the fashion week events. But for good food and trendy people-watching before the official parties, Stockholm photographer Daniel Ohlsson recommends lisapåtorget restaurant and, later in the evening, Richea small bar where the art, fashion, and club crowds converge year-round for strong cocktails, great DJ sets, and style inspiration from their peers.

The Scene:
The country that gave us Ikea and H&M knows a thing or two about looking good while keeping it practical. And while Swedish designers definitely step outside the box with daring designs, you can expect an emphasis on street and casual wear with simple lines at Stockholm's fashion week. Some 40 Swedish designers receive the limelight during fashion week through mostly invitation-only events. But their shops, of course, are always open to the public. Odd Molly's designs have a contemporary folkloric feel, with embroidery and layering influenced by international travels. Other leading Swedish designers who define the iconic Scandinavian look: Filippa K, Tiger of Sweden, and Whyred.

 

Copenhagen Fashion Week Feb. 1–5, 2012 & Aug. 1–5, 2012

Where to Hang Out: Copenhagen-based fashion photographer Simon B. Mørch recommends Sørens Værtshus, a stylish New Orleans–style pub in the old part of Copenhagen. It's here that the fashion and media crowds gather to chill in low-key surrounds that are conducive to both people-watching and conversation.

The Scene:
Some 60,000 buyers from across Scandinavia and Europe and big-name fashion editors from Paris, New York, and Milan descend on the Danish style capital every August and February to find out what's new in Nordic fashion. Shows are held everywhere from alfresco at Copenhagen's Royal Castle to inside City Hall. And while vanguard styles definitely get their due, there's an emphasis on sharp simple designs and value-for-money fashion, too. Take a cue from the effortless and wearable look that typifies Danish street fashion by dressing in layers with quirky bohemian touches, à la fringed boots and loosely tailored designs. Rising Danish fashion designer stars to look out for include Anne Sofie Madsen, Astrid Andersen, and Silas Adler (Soulland).

 

L'Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival March 8–15, 2012

Where to Hang Out: Melbourne fashion photographer Andrew Maccoll says that Cookie, with its French doors and cute Juliet balconies, is a sure bet for spotting the "in" set thanks to the fabulous coffee by day and a happening lounge scene after dark.

The Scene:
Sydney's summer fashion week may be showier. But the who's who of the Down Under fashion scene descends on Melbourne—Australia's fashion capital—every March for this carnival of catwalk strutting, collection debuts, and cultural events, such as photography exhibitions that play out across the city. The big name Aussie designers—sass & bide and Lisa Ho—are present, and fashion students and emerging designers get their due here, too. An emerging Aussie label to check out is JASONGRECH, a fashion duo with a flagship store in Melbourne. And while pinpointing Australian style is elusive (the country's cultural melting pot is reflected in its acceptance of wide style influences), it usually manages a mix of unfussy but funky, fashion-forward yet practical and relaxed.

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