The closest I ever come to a Chanel product is when I “like” Facebook posts that quote Coco Chanel. And while I’ve tried to live my life following her motto that “a girl should be two things: classy and fabulous” (and take lots of naps), it’s certainly harder to follow this ethos without actually owning a Chanel purse.
But it seems that it’s going to be easier, and not such a quixotic journey, for consumers like myself to experience the luxury of high fashion. Karl Lagerfeld—Uncle Karl to his followers—and a Macau casino operator recently announced plans for the Chanel designer to create his first hotel. The 270-room luxury property will open in 2017 and include a mix of 19th century and modern design features.
“I have more houses than I need and I don’t want to do any anymore. So I can, how could I say?, get rid of my frustration by doing hotels,” Lagerfeld said, according to luxury blog site Luxuo.
While that’s as good a reason as any, other fashion designers (perhaps also with too many houses) are seeing opportunities and dabbling in the hospitality industry as well.
Tommy Hilfiger is in talks to buy the Raleigh Hotel in Miami, under his new company Hilfiger Hospitality, where he plans to transform the property into a 5-Star “chic hotel with all the amenities,” he told Women’s Wear Daily. Additionally, Roberto Cavalli opened Cavalli Miami Restaurant & Lounge in Miami. Cavalli Miami “was clear in my mind from the very beginning,” the fashion designer told Hospitality Design in our March/April issue. The space is adorned with elements from Roberto Cavalli Home collection.
Why are these high-end fashion designers, known for sending models down runways in New York and Paris, and dressing celebrities for awards shows, entering the hospitality industry—a seemingly more mainstream arena?
Diversification, for one. No longer can brands just be one thing to some people. While we all may know who these high-end designers are, fewer of us are able to purchase their wares. However, we could splurge on one night in a Chanel-designed hotel and have our luxury quotient satiated.
It’s a smart business move to enter an industry that is always evolving as well as focusing more on design. Consumers, too, are seeking out unique experiences when they travel or go out to eat. Indeed, they now expect rich design elements and a strong story in their hospitality venues.
And fashion has many parallels with hospitality. It is all about architecture, design, and creating something cohesive and beautiful. By entering this industry, fashion brands are growing their reach and building a new customer base while also giving consumers a taste of luxury.
More importantly, and I think we can all agree on this, anything that will get us closer to Uncle Karl is worth it.