New York Fashion Week
New York Fashion Week and Bryant Park
During her 17-year tenure as a leading hair stylist at Manhattan’s premier salons, Janet St. Paul loved living and working in an international fashion hub. From her time with the acclaimed Butterfly Studio Salon and Frederic Fekkai’s fifth avenue salon atop Bergdorf Goodman to her frequent work with editorial, beauty and fashion shoots throughout the city, for Janet there was no more energizing time in the city than New York Fashion Week.
Twice a year (in February and again in September) the fashion world would descend on beautiful Bryant Park behind the New York Public Library. The electricity from the international fashion brands, models, buyers, celebrities, press and public converging in “Manhattan’s Town Square,” was palpable throughout the city—especially within the salon industry. When Janet worked various fashion week shows, it provided up-close exposure to fashion and beauty’s top brands. “It was exciting, demanding work, but it was unforgettable and provided invaluable experience,” Janet said.
Fashion Week 2018 promises to be no different with the exciting flurry of flashing cameras and fashionistas. While most attendees are invited to attend the various shows by virtue of celebrity, influence, journalistic relevance or sometimes just great luck, today there are new luxe ways to experience New York Fashion Week. But, it’s the back-of-house buzz that Janet recalls most fondly, wearing a wry expression of “been there, done that,” wisdom on her face.
Photo Credit: NYFW.com
Since the time Janet left New York to make her home and establish her eponymously named salon in Austin, Texas, New York’s Fashion Week has left the centralized location of Bryant Park. The fashion shows are now held at various venues throughout the city. Models wearing the top designers’ collections on the catwalk have evolved from Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford to Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Cindy’s daughter, Kaia Crawford. “The inspiration could sometimes be overwhelming, but what I still find absolutely intoxicating is the spirit of creativity,” Janet added.
Today when Janet travels from her award-winning Austin, Texas salon to New York for her ongoing work with Phyto Paris (Janet St. Paul Studio for Hair and Beauty is the US Flagship for the international brand), as well as to service her long-time NYC clients, she tries to squeeze in a visit to Bryant Park-—one of her all-time favorite destinations.
Photo Credit: http://bryantpark.org
“There is so much I love about Bryant Park, especially grabbing a bite at Bryant Park Cafe after a visit to the public library at fifth avenue. Bryant Park shows films in the summer and is a blissful spot right in the heart of the city.” – Janet St. Paul
The outdoor cafe’ is open from mid-April to November–depending on the weather. As the city starts to warm up in the spring it’s a very popular ‘after-work’ al fresco hotspot. Janet’s favorite thing on the menu? Lamb chops.
Similar to great public spaces such as Chicago’s Millennium Park, New York’s Bryant Park is always percolating with fun activities. From riding a carousel, taking curling classes, and tossing bean bags in a game of cornhole, to boot camps and exerskate classes. There’s even a Mardi Gras on Ice, Janet noting candidly, “of course, nothing compares to the actual Mardi Gras back at home in New Orleans–but you have to admit, that’s pretty cool.”
The New York Public Library an immense, cathedral-like building that is not-to-be-missed, according to Janet. It has such a storied history, having once been a site for a burial ground, then an aquifer, and eventually the beautiful destination it is today. The sheer scale of the place is jaw-dropping. “I love the gorgeous painted clouds on the ceilings, the brilliant design details, and the vibrancy of people who are drawn there to read, learn, and just enjoy the environment. It’s really great!” Janet said.
She admits, it may be due to her love and nostalgia for the New York Public Library, but the fact that Janet St. Paul Studio for Hair and Beauty is located just a short walk down second street to Austin’s own stunning new Central Library sparks a beaming smile from Janet. “I truly love being so close to our new library!” she said. It serves as a reminder for her of how vital public spaces like these are to a city. “The libraries are so vastly different in design. Both are amazing in their own right, but they’re also alike because they serve to connect and educate and are open to everyone. I love the energy–both in Austin and back in New York.”
In a rare moment of relaxation in her busy second street salon, Janet looked out the window of her client lounge and said, “I’ve truly found my home in Austin. I honestly don’t miss living in New York City, but I love, love, love, love, love all of the beautiful inspiration!” She sipped on her tea and added, “And I always, always will.”
For fashion-fans who, like Janet, enjoy following the shows, we’re sharing the official website for New York Fashion Week, along with links to Bryant Park and the New York Public Library. If you’d like even more insight regarding the myriad of amazing stops around one of Janet’s favorite New York neighborhoods, remember to ask Janet the next time you’re in the salon. She’s always happy to share!