Designer “Haute-Eliers” And Their Brand Partnerships

By Lesa Ukman Oct 30, 2012

Designer “Haute-Eliers” And Their Brand Partnerships

Over the last decade, upscale fashion brands found on New York City’s Madison Avenue, Paris’s Avenue Montaigne and London’s Sloane Street have extended well beyond apparel and accessories into housewares, sheets and textiles, lighting and furniture. Think Ralph Lauren, Hermes, Fendi, Missoni and Armani.

One way to showcase a home furnishing brand’s lifestyle vision to the right audience is via hotel partnerships:

Dior titles a 1,700-square-foot suite at the St. Regis, NYC that includes such brand hallmarks as a whispering gray palate and bows on the entryway sconces.

Designer “Haute-eliers” and Their Brand Partnerships

Bottega Veneta titles suites at the St. Regis in Rome and the St. Regis Grand in Florence. Designed by Bottega creative director Tomas Maier, the rooms feature a sophisticated, neutral color palate, materials and furniture.

Brioni titles a suite on the top floor of Milan’s Four Seasons Hotel.

Designer “Haute-eliers” and Their Brand Partnerships

Diane Von Furstenberg, creator of the wrap dress, put her bold patterned stamp on London’s iconic Claridge’s hotel, decking out 20 rooms and suites.

Designer “Haute-eliers” and Their Brand Partnerships

From the linens on the bed and fabric upholstered onto the settees to the branded amenities in the bathroom and array of signature services, these locations evoke the brands’ personality and exemplify a stylish and stylized way to travel and live.

Many designer brands are not just labeling rooms but entire hotels and apartments, teaming up with high-end operators to put their distinctive stamp on properties around the globe. Examples:

Bulgari, which operates a luxury hotel in Milan in partnership with Ritz-Carlton, a luxury resort in Bali and restaurants in Tokyo, opened the doors to its third Bulgari Hotel in a chic pocket of London in time for the 2012 Olympic Games. The Italian jeweler showcases bold and contemporary style with details such as custom-made silk curtains with silver patterns derived from an 1800s silver brooch by Sotirio Bulgari and handcrafted solid silver chandeliers.

Giorgio Armani partnered with Emaar Properties to open Armani Hotels & Resorts in Dubai and the new Armani Hotel in Milan. The designer’s team of architects and interior designers at Armani/Casa conceptualized and furnished the hotels in the brand’s sophisticated, minimalist modern aesthetic, featuring custom-created furnishings from the Armani/Casa collection. There is also an Armani/SPA, offering treatments with Armani amenities.

The Milan hotel is in the same building as the Armani Privé boutique and Armani/Nobu restaurant, creating a flagship space for the brand’s wide-ranging portfolio. Next up: Armani hotels in New York, London and Paris, and an Armani resort in Marrakech.

Designer “Haute-eliers” and Their Brand Partnerships

Missoni, which opened Missoni Hotels sporting the brand’s iconic zigzag stripes and geometric patterns in Edinburgh and Kuwait, has 30 more properties on the drawing board.

Moschino’s Maison Moschino Milan, a whimsical hotel in the label's quirky, tongue-in-cheek idiom opened in 2010. Room designs include a tribute to the Mad Hatter, a suite with a wall of painted shoe boxes and a room called “Sleeping in a Ballgown,” where the headboard looks like the bodice of a red velvet gown on a hanger, the “skirt” of which flows down to become the comforter.

Designer “Haute-eliers” and Their Brand Partnerships

LVMH, owner of such luxury brands as De Beers, Fendi, Givenchy and Louis Vuitton, opened White 1921 in Saint-Tropez. The hotel is white; its "1921" designation comes from the fact that it was a great year for champagne — a nod to LVMH's Dom Pérignon, Krug, Ruinart, Veuve Clicquot, and Moët & Chandon champagne brands

Byblos has the Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amistà just outside Verona.
Owned by the family that owns the Byblos fashion house, the hotel is a showcase for their collection of 20th-century design objects and contemporary artworks. There’s also an Espace Byblos spa.

Designer “Haute-eliers” and Their Brand Partnerships

Miss Sixty has the Sixty Hotel in Riccione, Italy.

Elie Saab’s Elie Saab Hotel operates at The Tiger Woods Dubai residential club.

Silvia Tcherassi showcases its vision at a seven-suite colonial mansion on the Colombian coast, the Tcherassi Hotel. 

The roots of today's designer-fronted hotels can be traced back to Queensland, Australia, where the opulent Palazzo Versace opened in late 2000. Developer Sunland Group approached the late designer Gianni Versace with the idea and the pair struck a deal: Sunland would own and operate the hotel, while Versace would sign off on the design and get an on-site shop that carries its regular goods, as well as a special line of Palazzo Versace branded products.

The hotel also offers guests Versace lifestyle services (albeit tamer than some of the more flamboyant aspects of Gianni and his sister and successor Donatella), such as an outing with an Italian picnic on the hotel’s custom-made Vespas. In 2012, a second Palazzo Versace opened, this one in Dubai.

Designer hotels let consumers spend more time with the brand. They let designers express their philosophy beyond clothes and can introduce an old-school brand to a new and younger audience. They immerse guests in the total brand aesthetic —the china, crystal, picture frames, towels, rugs, cutlery, candelabras, etc.—in an ideal setting. And, the items can be purchased at the on-premise boutique.

And the fashion-name-hotel movement is spreading to more specialty brands.

Restaurant chain Nobu is opening an eponymous hotel in Las Vegas.

French crystal maker Baccarat is partnering with Starwood Capital Group on the first Baccarat Hotel, slated to open in New York in 2014. It will include a store selling the company’s products and a Baccarat-branded spa, bar and restaurant.

IKEA, the Scandinavian retailer whose design-on-a-budget style and DIY ethos have revolutionized the way people shop for furniture, is opening a chain of budget hotels in Europe.

All of this experiential branding bodes well for rightsholders, Fashion brands are equally enamored with sport, as seen by 2012 Olympic sponsorships by Ralph Lauren, Prada, Armani, etc., as well as arts, culture and causes.


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