Christopher Ison

Everything you need to know about Transatlantic Fashion Week

Missing Fashion Week season already? Book your tickets for 2017’s Transatlantic Fashion Week now…

Poolside Champagne bars, swaying runways, Storm models strutting the deck and applause to the sound of waves – Welcome to Transatlantic Fashion Week.

You may not have heard of Transatlantic Fashion Week yet, but next year everyone will be talking about it. This year Marie Claire was lucky enough to go along and if you book early enough, you might be able to sample this exclusive package for yourself in 2017. Here’s the lowdown on what you can expect.

I boarded Cunard’s flagship cruise liner, the luxurious Queen Mary 2, along with 2000 lucky guests at Southampton port on a wet Thursday afternoon to set sail on a seven-night crossing from Southampton to Brooklyn.

The week-long voyage was packed with catwalk shows, designer seminars, hosted dinners, exhibitions, collection unveilings and champagne-filled balls, attended by renowned bloggers, fashion editors, designers and models.

Christopher Ison

Christopher Ison

Sailing into New York City on a bright autumnal morning, the QM2 cruised under Brooklyn Bridge and past the Statue of Liberty at 5am, bringing #TFW to a close and marking the start of New York fashion week.

Christopher Ison

Christopher Ison

The seven day voyage – thought up by Gail Sackloff: consultant to the international fashion industry, was a huge success, boasting names from Colin McDowell and Dame Zandra Rhodes to New York Fashion Week founder Fern Mallis. It was so successful in fact that it is set to become an annual fashion event, already confirming Julien Macdonald to take part in 2017.

Here are 13 reasons why the Transatlantic Fashion Week is not one to be missed…

1. It’s educational.

From lectures by fashion influencers and hosted dinners with designers to catwalk shows and exhibitions, it’s an educational experience as well as a social one and you can’t help but come away more informed about fashion.

2. The décor is Instagram-worthy. 

The ship, following a £90 million refurbishment last year can only be compared to a Gatsby-like mansion: grand, lavish and boasting a bespoke carpet so big that it can supposedly cover 10 football stadiums.

Christopher Ison

Christopher Ison

3. There’s no place better for networking.

You can’t go to the spa, gym or even enjoy an early morning Eggs Benedict without bumping into a model, magazine editor or designer. The fashion week is a great opportunity to meet some of the biggest names in the industry, whether it’s fashion blogger Bonnie Rakhit having a photo shoot on deck or Dame Zandra Rhodes preparing for her show.

Christopher Ison

Christopher Ison

4. Veuve Clicquot is on tap.

Veuve Clicquot is like a religion onboard the QM2, with the Yellow Label Champagne flowing at every party, drinks and dinner. Stop by the Veuve Clicquot bar – yes there is actually a Veuve Clicquot bar onboard – and indulge in a Champagne tasting in between the Transatlantic Fashion Week events.

5. The impressive range of catwalk shows. 

The catwalk shows are spread over the week, ranging from Dame Zandra Rhodes’ Transatlantic Dreams collection to innovative showcases by graduates from The Royal College of Art. The only downside was watching the poor Storm models try to navigate the runway on a swaying ship – it was a nail-biting experience.

Christopher Ison

Christopher Ison

6. The food is first class.

Boasting seven restaurants and a huge selection of bars, the food and drink onboard the QM2 are world class. Go to The Verandah for a real fine dining experience, serving lobster, steak and venison Carpaccio, but when it comes to drinks, the Commodore Club serves the best cocktails in the house. Indulge in a Black Bellini or a Transatlantic Love Affair whilst enjoying the panoramic views from the ship’s bow.

Christopher Ison

Christopher Ison

7. There is fantastic onboard shopping.

In fitting with the theme of sheer luxury, the QM2’s Mayfair shops sell only the most famous and luxurious brands. We’re talking Fendi sunglasses, Chanel make up, Swarovski jewellery and of course quality Furla and Aspinal handbags. Mull over your purchases with a mug of hot chocolate from the neighbouring Godiva chocolate café.

8. You will get a first look at some fashion collections.
Launching the fashion week season, TFW is the perfect place to debut collections with both Dame Zandra showcasing her Transatlantic Dreams collection and Aspinal of London unveiling their exclusive Pegasus range by designer Emma J Shipley, onboard the ship.

Christopher Ison

Christopher Ison

9. The state of the art spa.
If you need a break from the fashion programme, go and spend some time at the onboard Canyon Ranch Spa, boasting swimming pools, steam rooms, saunas, foot spas and luxury treatments ranging from Canyon Stone massages to Rasul mud ceremonies.

10. There is a very fancy dress code.
This doesn’t apply to the whole ship and only takes effect at 6pm, but depending on whether it’s an ‘informal’ or ‘formal’ night, you will be expected to wear either a cocktail dress or full on black tie if you want to take advantage of the ship’s nightlife. The dress code is strict but makes the evenings so much more special.

Christopher Ison

Christopher Ison

11. You can bring your dog.

Don’t worry about getting a house-sitter to walk your dog while you’re away, take your pets with you instead. Cunard offers a kennel programme on the Transatlantic Crossing for both dogs and cats, with a pet play area, dog walking zone and visiting hours for the owners.

12. There’s plenty to do.

Spending a whole week on a ship sounds dull, but if that ship in question is as big as the QM2 and hosting a Transatlantic Fashion Week, you have nothing to worry about. A daily itinerary will be left outside your room (along with breakfast in bed if you’ve ordered it) outlining the day’s activities, and with a theatre, ballroom, nightclub, planetarium, sea library and cinema screening fashion-inspired film, you will be very busy.

Christopher Ison

Christopher Ison

13. Sailing into New York the morning of New York Fashion Week.

The 5am start is well worth it just to stand on the bow of the ship as the sun rises, sailing towards the Manhattan skyline. Passing under Brooklyn Bridge and cruising past the State of Liberty is truly a bucket list moment.

To find out more about Cunard’s Transatlantic Fashion Week 2017, visit cunard.co.uk

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