Whether you’re sartorially savvy or the polar opposite of a fashionista, cialis the high drama and sheer talent at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in NYC—both inside and outside the tents—is a sight to behold. As designers from around the world prepare to debut their fall 2013 collections at Lincoln Center between Feb. 7 and 14, order editor Cathal O’ Gara has been curating his own collection of the best things to do and eat if you’re heading there to be part of the glitz and glamour.

Fashion Week is a massive event that brings 100,000 people to Lincoln Centre’s Damrosch Park for eight days of style and spectacle. Shows are invite-only, but even if you don’t score a golden ticket, it’s worth a stop by the plaza for the ultimate only-in-New-York people watching.

The Fashion…

This year, more than 75 designers will showcase their handiwork at official Fashion Week events; the roster includes legendary names (Ralph Lauren, Diane Von Furstenberg and emerging brands (MM6 by Maison Martin Margiela, Monika Chiang). Among the labels to watch this season are ICB by Prabal Gurung—often worn by first lady Michelle Obama—and American designers Trina Turk and Steven Alan. While the three have participated in previous Fashion Weeks, Turk and Gurung will present their first live runway shows at Lincoln Center.

Beyond the formal shows of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, the arrival of the worldwide fashion industry in New York spawns many spin-off events. Often more intimate—and typically easier to get into—these celebrations are good bets for an up-close look at models working the runway.

Nolcha Fashion Week is the city’s other official Fashion Week. The platform, created to help launch the careers of independent designers, will present fall and winter collections at Pier 59 on Feb. 13, with other events—from a bloggers’ brunch to after parties—running from Feb. 11 to 14.

Small Boutique Fashion Week, meanwhile, presents its runway show and market on Feb. 10 at Metropolitan Pavilion. The event connects emerging designers with boutique owners, but because it’s open to the public, you can snag a ticket and enjoy the show as well.

Immediately following Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Couture Fashion Week (Feb. 15 to 17) focuses on luxury pieces from international designers. The often over-the-top designs are displayed with gusto; the event closed last season with a collaborative mural-painting exercise. This year marks the first time that Couture Fashion Week moves from the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Waldorf Astoria to its new home in the New Yorker Hotel.

One-off, niche runway shows provide more opportunities to sit in the front row. Reality TV fans should check out the first Reality of FASHION The Reality of AIDS fundraiser show, taking place Feb. 9 in The Altman Building. With models plucked from programs like Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise, this open event guarantees more than a smattering of reality-star sightings. And on Feb. 12 at downtown hot spot Tenjune, Fashion Meets Music teams up with Camp Couture NYC for a show that melds fashion and entertainment; artists slated to perform include Amanda Brown of The Voice. General admission tickets are available.

Shopping is, of course, synonymous with fashion shows, and even if your wardrobe is more prêt-à-porter than haute couture, you can still fill a bag or two with cutting-edge ensembles thanks to the pop-up shops that proliferate during Fashion Week. Head to Nordstrom-owned Treasure & Bond in Soho for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund pop-up that spotlights designs from this year’s 10 Fashion Fund finalists. The featured designers join an illustrious club of past winners like Proenza Schouler, Prabal Gurung, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Thom Browne, designer of first lady Michelle Obama’s 2013 inauguration coat and dress. This Fashion Fund pop-up opens on Feb. 6

Where to Eat…
Fortuitously, a number of the chic eateries around Lincoln Centre are participating in NYC Restaurant Week during Fashion Week (the two overlap on Feb. 7 and 8). On the third floor of theTime Warner Centre, the Italian restaurant ‘A Voce’ will offer a $25, three-course, prix-fixe lunch—along with sweeping views of Central Park and a buzzing fashion crowd inside.

The swanky Ed’s Chowder House at The Empire Hotel, just across from Lincoln Centre, is also serving a Restaurant Week menu. But don’t miss the newest addition to its regular menu—the Stone Crab Mary is a seafood-topped twist on a traditional bloody Mary. Afterward, stake out a spot at The Empire Hotel’s trendy rooftop bar for a view of the Lincoln Center tents from above.

Lincoln Square Business Improvement District will pick up where Restaurant Week leaves off when its Fashion Plate Prix Fixe returns on Feb. 9. As in years past, the organization is gathering 25 neighborhood luminaries to offer special lunch or dinner menus through Feb. 16. Expected participants includeThomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery andDaniel Boulud’s Bar Boulud.

When it comes to a mid-morning bite, nothing says NY brunch like the Parisian-style brasserie Balthazar. Fashion designers from Zac Posen to Victoria Beckham have held after-parties at the Soho institution. You can’t go wrong with the pastries.

 -By Cathal O’ Gara