The Ultimate Front Row Seat- Inside The Luxurious World Of Destination Fashion Shows


Growing up, my dream was to attend Paris Fashion Week. Over the past twenty years, I have amassed a small collection of couture pieces which I plan to pass down to my daughter when the time is right. As fun as it is to collect these beautiful pieces, there is nothing like actually witnessing the creativity and craftsmanship of the foremost fashion houses and their renowned designers firsthand and watching from the front row as they unveil their creations to the world in awe-inspiring productions. My dream was realized this past January as a few of my fashionista friends and I were able to secure coveted invitations to the haute couture shows and a number of once-in-a-lifetime intimate brand experiences.

One of the highlights of the week was a private Chanel dinner in Karl Lagerfeld’s personal library where we dined on his personal china, were serenaded by French singers, and were surrounded by thousands of books that he drew inspiration from (many were travel books, which I found very interesting).

Another spectacular unforgettable fashion moment I had the pleasure of experiencing was this past Fall when the high-fashion Italian house, Fendi, was gracious enough to invite me to attend their show as well as multiple brand activations during New York Fashion Week. This was not just any show but it was the 25th anniversary celebration of the It-bag of the late ’90s and early ’00s, The Baguette, which was made famous thanks to Sex and the City‘s fictional character, Carrie Bradshaw and has since had a remarkable revival.

The two-day New York City takeover started with select Fendi-clad guests being ferried to Ellis Island – passing the Statue of Liberty on the way – and catching the breathtaking view of the sun setting on Manhattan. Dinner was held in the actual Great Hall where we were personally greeted by Fendi CEO Serge Brunschwig with the backdrop of hundreds of candles in the shape of their signature Fendi Zucca logo. It was a very private evening that was perfectly executed and a wonderful way to thank the brand’s most loyal customers for their patronage.

The show did not dissapoint. It was a who’s who of the fashion world including Kate Moss, Christy Turlington, Kim Kardashian, Amber Vallerta, Winnie Harlow, Lilly Allen, Olivia Culpo, as well as the countless other models, celebrities, and influencers who showed up to pay homage to the brand’s long legacy.

While Paris and New York may be ground zero in the world of fashion, luxury brands are now taking their fashions to luxury destinations and spending small fortunes to fly influencers, press, and VIPs out to exotic locales.

It is a new form of experiential marketing weaving culture and commerce. The brand invites a strategic selection of social media celebrities to enhance the brand’s visibility and create an unforgettable fashion moment. It is also an opportunity for the fashion house to create VIP experiences, intimate gatherings, and immersive activities that deepen the connection between the luxury brands and their discerning clientele. By bringing these influencers together for 48 hours into the brand’s pop-up runway show, they are leveraging the power of digital through live streaming, social media coverage, and interactive elements to extend the reach and engagement of the event, putting the brand on a global stage.

These locations are thoughtfully planned out as the design teams of these fashion houses use these destinations to draw inspiration from the local culture and traditions, and incorporate elements from the destination into their collections – as well as using these events as platforms to promote ethical practices and to support the work of the local communities. By showcasing the craftsmanship and heritage of the country they are in, the brand creates a storytelling moment that pays homage to the culture and also creates a narrative for the collection. With the combination of fashion and travel, these locations evoke a sense of luxury by being historically significant, culturally relevant, or architecturally remarkable.

In the past couple of months, luxury brands have descended on cities across the world with their mini brand takeovers.



Dior presented their Pre-Fall 2023 collection at the historic Gateway of India monument in Mumbai. The show showed appreciation for color, sillouettes, and embroidery that India is known for. Dior created an authentic connection to local craftmanship through it’s collaboration with Karishma Swali, who directs the Chanakya ateliers and the Chanakya School of Craft in Mumbai.


The Gyeongbokgung Palace in the centre of Seoul was the backdrop for Gucci’s one-night only celebration of 25 years since it had opened its first store in Korea. The collection subtly referenced the Korean influence with satin bows across some of the looks similar to the ones seen on a Korean hanbok. This was the first time a fashion show had ever taken place in the confines of this cultural masterpiece. Gucci wanted to pay respect to their ever-growing Korean customers by staging their Cruise 2024 collection at this ancient palace.

Fashion destination shows often offer attendees perks that go far beyond the runway. From the moment guests arrive they are treated like VIPs. Fashion enthusiasts of the brand are flown in from around the world and hosted in luxury hotels, invited to intimate dinners and events, and given front row access to the show and an opportunity to meet and network with the executives of the brand. These gatherings are equally important to both the influencer and the brand, as they have a symbiotic relationship that relies on the other.



Jacquemus is no stranger to doing shows outside of the traditional runways. From sand dunes to lavender fields, the brand wants to push the envelope on traditional structure. Each show is an influencers photographic dream with such dramatic backdrops.


The shows are also a great opportunity to leverage the power of celebrity within a brand’s network to show up and bring attention to the brand’s newest collection. The most recent show in Los Angeles for Chanel brought out Hollywood’s fans of the brand such as Margot Robbie, Leslie Mann, Kristen Stewart, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Kris Jenner.


Donatella Versace invited 60 guest to celebrate the newest collection ‘La Vacanza’ in collaboration with Dua Lipa to a beuatiful villa in the South of France. The timing and the location worked well as many of the guests were already in Cannes for the Cannes Film Festival.



Alberta Ferretti held her Resort 2024 show in Rimini, Northern Italy at a 15th century castle, Castel Sismondo . Rimini, the hometown of Frederico Fellini and his movies the inspiration of the collection, was recently struck with severe floods that left the town in dispair with thousands left without places to live. Ferretti made the decision to have the show go on as planned and wore a sweatshirt that read ‘Io ci sono’ which means you can count on me and vowed to have a percentage of the sales go to support the local charity.

By luxury brands weaving commerce With more destination shows being held in the next few weeks around the globe – such as Max Mara in Stockholm, Carolina Herrera in Rio, and Fendi in Tuscany – the select fashion elites with passports in hand, will no doubt be racking up the miles along with their wardrobes.

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