Chances are if you so much as glanced at your Instagram feed in early February, you knew about New York Fashion Week. And it’s a smart move on fashion brands’ end: All consumers get a front row seat at the shows thanks to social media. Leveraging Curalate’s Instagram analytics capabilities, we revealed the top images and hashtags that users shared during the weeklong fashion event.  Here are a few ways brands really did things right — to the tune of over 100,000 shared images.

1. They provided a peek behind the scenes.

Fashion editors and Instagram followers alike got to see the Ralph Lauren pre-show runway and the view from Tory Burch’s makeup chairs. Brands understand that Fashion Week isn’t just about what happens on the runway, and engaged consumers want to see that. In fact, 9 out of the top 10 photos shared during New York Fashion Week were taken off the runway, which proves active followers love feeling like insiders.

2. They built up the hype.

During Fashion Week, an average of 5,461 photos with the hashtag #NYFW were shared per day. In comparison, #Sochi2014 drove roughly 3,320 images per day — and the Olympics only happens every two years. But Fashion Week social media marketers understand the impact of a post — and a trending hashtag. #NYFW garnered the most interactions by far (nearly 4 million), proving that short, instinctive hashtags are always a strong strategy.

3. They understood their audience.

Brands were really on their A-game for New York Fashion Week, but with a record of nearly 38,000 interactions per photo it’s clear that Michael Kors won Instagram. What did this brand do differently? For one, they laid the groundwork. Michael Kors boasts 1.8 million Instagram fans, a result of cultivating an audience that really cares about their product (in fact, their Instagram ad initiative only grew their audience by 50,000). Over Fashion Week, Michael Kors kept their fans engaged with a consistent aesthetic and charming behind-the-scenes snaps. Their running narrative, #AllAccessKors, gave Instagrammers an inside look at their road to Fashion Week (mostly from the perspective of their best-selling accessories). They know their followers, and their followers reward them.

Overall, it’s obvious that Michael Kors won Fashion Week- the brand generated nearly double the average interactions per photo than the runner-up, Nasty Gal. Below, we take a closer look at the top brands and hashtags that drove the most engagement during NYFW.

Brands (ranked by average likes per photo)

  1. Michael Kors – 37,448
  2. Nasty Gal – 14,273
  3. Essie Polish – 11,072
  4. Ralph Lauren – 9,673
  5. Maybelline – 7,750
  6. Zac Posen – 7,521
  7. Nordstrom – 5,501
  8. Neiman Marcus – 2,490
  9. Instyle Magazine – 2,338
  10. Saks Fifth Avenue – 1,603

Hashtags (sorted by total photos shared during Fashion Week)

  1. #NYFW –  38,223
  2. #MBFW – 20,089
  3. #fashionweek – 19,635
  4. #newyorkfashionweek – 7,562
  5. #nyfw2014 – 4,651

Now that you know which brands have mastered the art of real-time engagement at Fashion Week, it’s time to start learning the method. Download our Instagram guide below to rethink the way you approach photos on the image-driven network.