The Ultimate Guide to Celeb-Spotting During London Fashion Week

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If it seems like the only thing on everyone's mind lately is London Fashion Week, your suspicions are correct. The British capitol has been flooded with hordes of the most-fashionable people from supermodels to designers, to street-style photographers to TV and film stars, to—literally—everyone and everything in-between. If you’re among the crowd of fashion fans who did not pick up the coveted star-spotting seat of the front row, you can still be a part of the glitz and glamour of London Fashion Week without stepping foot in the Somerset House. After all, it’s not just the catwalks that have the paparazzi in a tizzy, it’s the after parties—the see-and-be-seen venues that celebs love to frequent when they are in need of social schmoozing. This is our ultimate guide on how you can rub elbows with the capitol’s best-known socialites, jet-setting A-listers, fashion elite, and editors of the glossy mags during one of the most-celebrated weeks of fashion’s year without going to a single show.

Where to Sip

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If you’re in the mood to sip cocktails in seductive settings or dimly lit lounges where the occasional snap of your camera (no flash, of course) might go unnoticed, then slip into your most-stylish ensemble and prepare yourself for a serious people-watching session. This roundup of consummately trendy bars is where you can expect to see the top names in the fashion industry.

Mahiki
Simply stated, Mahiki is where the beautiful go to enjoy their night. The Polynesian Lanai-style lounge is overflowing with models, pop stars, Chelsea socialites and fashionable media types. In the quirky downstairs Aloha Lounge, the combination of the exotic cocktails, packed dance floor, and karaoke machine often provide fodder for the gossip blogs the morning after.
1 Dover Street, London, United Kingdom, W1S 4LD (near Piccadilly); +44 (0) 207-493-9529.

Punch Bowl
It’s not uncommon to pop into this Mayfair pub any day of the week and spot more than just one celeb. The rich English heritage decor and candle-lit ambiance make it one of the nicest pubs in London, but it’s the landlord who attracts the glitterati. Owned by Guy Ritchie (and previously by Madonna, as well), the catalog of celebs that have stopped in to enjoy a pint is endless, especially during Fashion Week, when that list could mirror the number of star-studded RSVPs at the Burberry show.
41 Farm Street, London, United Kingdom, W1J 5RP (at Chesterfield Hill); +44 (0) 207-493-6841.

Public
If you’ve heard of Pippa Middleton (frankly, who hasn’t at this stage?), then you’ve heard of Public. Everyone from the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister to Justin Timberlake have tucked into the swanky VIP areas of this late-night dance club. The carousel of royals and stars parading through the back entry of this Chelsea hotspot is quickly becoming one of the most-photographed doors in London.
533 Kings Road, London, United Kingdom, SW10 0TZ (near Lots Road); +44 (0) 207-751-4400.


Where to Dine

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It’s pretty clear what top contenders for favorite celeb eateries reign supreme (i.e., Nobu, Cecconi’s), but when it comes to the overcrowded restaurants during London Fashion Week, the A-list look elsewhere. It’s the hidden gems tucked into discreet streets and areas of Central London that seem to garner the most star attention. During LFW, look forward to a few of the glamorous folk dining next to you.

Automat
This All-American brasserie is a revolving door of famous faces since Harry Potter darling Emma Watson threw her 18th birthday party here in the downstairs lounge. Situated in the posh neighborhood of Mayfair, the vintage dining car decor and casual down-home cuisine is a magnet for the rich and famous, who knowingly arrive cloaked in designer duds hoping to draw a bevy of flashbulbs.
33 Dover Street, London, United Kingdom, W1S 4NF (near Hay Hill); +44 (0) 207-499-3033.

Lemonia
A proven fact time and time again, Kate Moss dominates the London fashion scene. So, when she claims this Primrose Hill Greek haunt as one of her favorite places to dine, aspiring fashionistas dutifully follow. The delectably light Mediterranean fare (perfect for the need-to-stay-trim-and-thin diet) and laid-back atmosphere attract seriously stylish celebs such as Gwyneth Paltrow and her musical hubby, Chris Martin.
89 Regents Park Road, London, United Kingdom, NW1 8UY (at Erskine Road); +44 (0) 207-586-7454.

Quaglino’s
A fusion of classic seafood dishes and modern twists on bistro-style cuisine, Quaglino’s is the sort of high-end dining that celebrities love to eat up (pun intended). So, after you order the famous lobster and chips, make sure to steal a few glimpses between bites at the gorgeous It Crowd attempting to enjoy their Maldon Rock oysters incognito.
16 Bury Street, London, United Kingdom, SW1Y 6AJ (near Jermyn Street); +44 (0) 207-930-6767.


Where to Sleep

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For star-gazing addicts, finding the one hip hotel in London that’ll ensure you get your fill is like picking one Brian Atwood creation to satisfy your shoe cravings—an impossible feat. So, jaunt over to three of the hottest hotels where the trendy lay their heads during LFW; Score a seat in the contemporary receptions, or belly-up to the exquisite hotel bars. Keep your eyes peeled for the moment when the sleek and sexy saunter in after an exhausting day of runway shows.

The May Fair Hotel
When it’s the official hotel of London Fashion Week, you can be certain the lavish May Fair is a major celebrity stomping ground. Once you nestle into the lush purple couches of the eponymous May Fair Bar, expect to see models relaxing in the über-chic hotel lounge. On Fashion’s Night Out, the bar was flooded with reality stars and fashionable media mavens peeking at the doorway in search of the next big name to strut in.
Stratton Street, London, United Kingdom, W1J 8LT (at Berkeley Street); +44 (0) 207-629-7777.

The Sanderson Hotel
Between the spectacularly modish Long Bar, the extravagantly landscaped interior garden, the luxuriously designed suites and the avant-garde furnishings in the Purple Bar, the Sanderson Hotel is just as glamorous as its clientele. With all the recent celebs hosting birthday parties and premiere after-parties, or just checking in for a one-night stay, the sumptuous Fitzrovia hotel has become a paparazzi staple for LFW.
50 Berners Street, London, United Kingdom, W1T 3NG (near Mortimer Street); +44 (0) 207-300-1400.

The Metropolitan Hotel
Madonna, Cameron Diaz, Kylie Minogue, Jude Law, and Johnny Depp. No, this is not your fantasy dinner party, just a directory of iconic names who continually choose the refined and sophisticated Metropolitan Hotel for their London getaway. Sip on a skillfully crafted cocktail in the Met Bar, or venture to the reception where it’s almost guaranteed you’ll spot a superstar checking into this ultra- luxe hotel. The stunning lobby, seriously cool bar, and the incredibly classy rooms are so striking, you’ll be left wondering what’s more attractive to look at—the settings or the guests.
Old Park Lane, London, United Kingdom, W1K 1LB (at Curzon Street); +44 (0) 207-447-1000.