As we countdown to what will be the first New Zealand Fashion Week in three years (thanks, Covid), the excitement is mounting in our local fashion community. Traditionally, NZFW has maintained an industry-centric focus during its weekday shows, reserving access for the general public only for the weekend presentations, but this year has brought about a refreshing change. The upcoming event – scheduled to run from August 29th to September 2nd, 2023 – promises an extended array of weekday and weekend shows accessible to the public.
Whether you’re local to Tāmaki Makaurau/ Auckland or are journeying from out of town, we’ve curated the ultimate guide to navigating this busy week including where to stay, where to dine and where to shop during Aotearoa’s biggest fashion event of the year.
Where to stay
From 10am each each day, there will be back-to-back shows from some of the industry’s biggest names and notable up and comers, so staying within close proximity of the venue will be a necessity for retaining your stamina for the week. With the majority of shows taking place onsite at the Viaduct Events centre, there are an abundance of luxurious lodging options within walking distance, including NZFW’s official hotel partner for the year, M Social.
Located a mere 600 metres from the venue, a stay at M Social would mean that you can nip back and forth between shows with ease, whether for make-up touchups, an outfit change, or the quickest of power naps. With 190 contemporary rooms on offer, many of which have views overlooking Princes Wharf, and a range of dining and fitness facilities within arms reach, this is a fuss-free option for those wanting to stay close to the action. Better yet, as the official hotel partner for NZFW this year, you can score 20% off your stay by booking through the NZFW website.
As the closest hotel to the venue out of our list of accommodations, Park Hyatt gives you a literal front row seat to all of the action throughout the week. With its sleek, chic fit-out that plays host to four restaurants and bars, a day spa, a 25-metre infinity pool, and a full fitness centre, this hotel epitomises luxury in all its forms. At just a two minute walk from the venue, you can easily pop back for a little post-show massage or facial.
There’s a lot to love about the QT Auckland, from its quirky furnishings to its generously-sized rooms. Located just a stone’s throw from the venue, we also love it as an accessible option to stay in during NZFW. Home to the esteemed Esther restaurant, you’ll be able to fuel up on culinary delights around the clock, with a range of room service offerings also available during your stay. And to cap off a long day of show hopping? We recommend celebrating with a glass of bubbles or two at the hotel’s coveted rooftop bar.
Where to eat
Though there’s guaranteed to be a range of gourmet treats available on site throughout the duration of the week thanks to Savor Group (who is an official partner of NZFW), it’s likely you’ll be needing some dining recommendations to keep you energised for all those moments in between. Here are our top picks for staying satiated all week long:
This Italian focused restaurant opened its doors late last year, and since then it has quickly earned a place as one of our favourite dining spots in the city. Situated close to the venue, you can head here for a long lunch, a post-show dinner or a casual tipple at your leisure. Offering a range of classics such as pipe rigate and tiramisu, we expect this to be a hot spot during NZFW.
In the mood for hearty lunch? Williams Eatery has you covered. Serving a mix of local and intentionally inspired dishes, consider this your one stop shop for great food and coffee. While we’re certainly partial to their premium pasture eggs on Daily Bread sourdough, we recommend their octopus scramble for something a little more adventurous.
Soul Bar and Bistro
A place to see and be seen in, Soul Bar is an institution for locals of all walks of life. While often frequented as a celebration spot or as a Friday night after work drinks destination, its Soul’s unpretentious yet delicious menu that keeps us coming back time and time again. For a truly soulful experience, consider trying one of their signature cocktails with a dish of their famous mac and cheese. Trust us, you won’t regret it.
Where to shop
What we wear to NZFW is an important consideration that is often planned weeks in advance. Though we’re sure to get an abundance of new style inspiration from watching designers debut their new collections, what’s fashion week without a little pre-show shopping spree?
Since it opened in mid 2020, this premium shopping precinct has become our go-to destination for when we’re in need of some retail therapy. Home to more than 100 fashion, beauty, and dining locations, you’ll find everything from local favourites such as Wynn Hamlyn and Kate Sylvester (whose NZFW show we’re extremely excited for) to luxe international labels like Kate Spade and Sandro. With an assortment of casual and more high-end dining options scattered throughout the precinct, you can easily spend hours here without running out of things to do.
After a lengthy trip to Commercial Bay, you can make your way down to Britomart, home to labels like Maggie Marilyn, Deadly Ponies, FABRIC, and more. Surrounded by top eateries and bars, you can wet your whistle between visiting the stores of some of Aotearoa’s best designers. Whether it’s a full length gown or a ‘jeans and nice top’ combo you’re in search of, there’s something for everyone here.
Find out more about NZFW and see the schedule here.