Instagram phenomenon Ladies of Madison Avenue is a love letter to classic New York style

We're completely obsessed

Ladies of Madison Avenue
(Image credit: Ladies of Madison Avenue)

Ladies of Madison Avenue – an Instagram and TikTok phenomenon – showcases New York's fashion elite at the top of their game, combining refreshingly candid interviews with discerning street style choices from Joshua Kamei.

Photographed outside the ballet, leaving iconic NY hotels and en route to glamorous events and galas, it's New York's most fashionable dressed in their finest that we get a snapshot of through Joshua's account. 

Joshua recently captured Carolina Herrera’s daughters sitting on the steps at the Whitney Museum, following the house’s show, wearing matching black ensembles, oozing effortless elegance in kitten heel slingbacks and low chignons with bows. It's the style moments like this we don't see in magazines. 

Ladies of Madison Avenue: Carolina Herrera’s daughters sitting on the steps at the Whitney Museum

(Image credit: Ladies of Madison Avenue )

When Joshua, a freelance New York-based womenswear designer, started documenting his favourite street style looks on the Upper East Side, he didn't foresee quite how much attention would get. 

In fact, when he approached his first street-style subject, he admits he was "terrified".

"Having been inspired by women like Annette de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Mercedes Bass, Lynn Wyatt, C.Z. Guest, Nan Kemper and Babe Paley, I started documenting women of all ages on the Upper East Side," he told us.

"I made a change from photography to video having first interviewed jewellery designer Liz Friedman and the video sailed on TikTok — so I kept posting."

From humble beginnings, Joshua now has over 100k TikTok followers and over 200k followers on Instagram, with a legion of loyal fans who are quick to comment on anything Josha posts, expressing their approval of his tasteful choices. 

It could be that Ladies of Madison Avenue's TikTok popularity is partially down to the fact that it's giving us a window into a world we don't often see on the platform, which is largely associated with the younger generation.

The glamorous women portrayed belong to a different world entirely as New York's fashion elite, living the luxurious lives most of us have only come close to via Gossip Girl.

Another factor is Joshua's interview style, managing to get what could be considered the most unapproachable-looking women, dripping in designer clothes, to open up about their style and laugh with him in front of the camera. Every one of Joshua's chosen subjects has that quintessential Upper East Side elegance and expansiveness — but his videos are also warm and charming, and refreshingly unpretentious. 

So what makes Joshua want to approach someone? "I look for a classic polished look," he told us. "Or maybe they are just a character. Also, some women just have a presence about them and it has nothing to do with the clothes. You know it when you see it. There is a feeling of, 'My god isn't she just fabulous'."

For Joshua, real style is all about confidence, whatever look you're trying to achieve. "Real style is cultivating a look that gives you confidence," he told us. "Life can be challenging and we all need confidence to get through it."

So for a man who lives and breathes fashion and style, who are his ultimate icons? 

"Carolina Herrera, Annette de la Renta, Amy Fine Collins, Josie Natori, and  Aerin Lauder," he told us, before adding: "And, of course, the Ladies of Madison Avenue that I have interviewed, such as women like Marilyn Kirschner, Dr Cynthia Magro, Bethann Hardison, Josie Natori."

Lauren is the former Deputy Digital Editor at woman&home and became a journalist mainly because she enjoys being nosy. With a background in features journalism, Lauren has bylines in publications such as Marie Claire UK, Red Magazine, House of Coco, women&home, GoodTo, Woman's Own and Woman magazine.

She started writing for national papers and magazines at Medavia news agency, before landing a job in London working as a lifestyle assistant and covers everything from fashion and celebrity style to beauty and careers.