“An interior is the natural projection of one’s soul, and Balzac was right in giving it the same importance as to dress.” — Coco Chanel
How the top names in fashion are putting their touch on hotels and restaurants.
Judging the style savvy of your friends, colleagues, and peers used to be a simple matter of stealing a glance at the label on their suit, the logo on their shoes, or the monogram on their belt or handbag. Top designer brands just seem to be equated with style, quality, and — let’s face it — a certain level of affluence. Now you might want to add hotels and restaurants to the growing list of fashionable “accessories” to don a designer label.
By targeting the ephemeral hotel or dining experience and filling these spaces with their own signature fabrics, furnishings, and other decorative objects, most designers say they are finally able to create a kind of synergy between their labels and the luxury lifestyle they want to project. “By operating a luxury-hotel business, we have found an innovative way of leveraging our brand and enhancing brand awareness with a complete lifestyle experience,” explains Attilio Marro, director of operations for Bulgari Hotels & Resorts. The aim is to encourage guests “to form an emotional connection with the hotel,” and hence a similar attachment to other products carrying the Bulgari brand, he says.
For the Bulgari Hotels in Milan and Bali, that meant creating a “refined but never opulent” environment focused on rich materials and superior Italian craftsmanship — signatures that define the company’s jewelry, watches, and leather goods — while carefully avoiding all of the classic signs (uniforms, luggage carts, grand pianos) of the typical luxury-hotel experience, Marro explains. Moreover, he adds, “all of the hotels’ services and amenities are crafted with the same attention to quality and detail that has always distinguished Bulgari creations.”