More and more fashion companies are trying to expand their business to a new frontier: the luxury hotel industry. This trend started with new consumers’ attitudes, people want to have a 360° lifestyle experience and meanwhile feel part of an exclusive “elite”. This new reality is both the consequence of financial uncertainty, resulted from years of crisis, and of the notable increase in bargaining power of social platforms. Nowadays appearance is the hub of a society where social networks are becoming one of the main tools of communication.
The phenomenon started in 1995 with Ferragamo’s family, and in the following years it spread to fashion designers such as Missoni, Versace and Armani. This diversification strategy leads to an increase in revenues and it has turned out to be a very successful marketing strategy. The risks of embracing this new market are different and the main one is brand dilution.
Gianni Versace S.P.A. and the Sunland Group joined a fruitful collaboration to build Palazzo Versace on the Gold Coast of Australia. Versace company defines it as a definition of luxury, glamour and sophistication. The Palace has a predominant imperial style with rich gold details and textures, the Versace logo enriches various items from pillows to seats of limousines, rentable by the hotel clients.
In 2010, the Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani inaugurated the Armani Hotel Dubai. These days Dubai is becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations and it is the perfect location to suit the idea of luxury which has always characterized Armani’s style. The hotel takes up the first 8 floors plus the 38th and 39th floor of the the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Elegance and minimalism are key words for this hotel and we could not have expected anything different from Mr. Armani, shades of dark, wardrobes covered by leather defined by Florence artisans, and long wooden halls dominate the entire hotel. The prices per night start from 1000€, for a base double room, to 13,000€ for the Armani Suite Dubai, a 400 meter squares room comprising two bedrooms, a kitchen, a gym, a SPA, a living room and a 360° view from the majestic building.
Bulgari decided to enter the market in 2001. The first hotel built in collaboration with the Luxury Group was in Milan but the one I want to focus on is the one in Bali built in 2006. The elegant resort is made of 59 villas and 2 maisons, whose interiors are hand-hewn from volcanic stone, Japanese mahogany and locally woven fabrics, designed by Antonio Citterio. The resort is surrounded by nature, and the stunning infinity pool makes the view over the sea even more breathtaking. The luxury jewels company is projecting to open other hotels: three of them are going to be inaugurated this year, in Shangai, Beijing and Dubai, and a fourth one in 2019, in Mosca.
Other fashion designers have decided to collaborate with some hotels to outline the rooms’ design without effectively owning it, different from the previous examples. Chantal Thomass, a French lingerie designer has projected the entire four stars hotel Vice Versa, in Paris. She has taken care of every single details from wallpapers to curtains and ceilings, maintaining the theme of the floor to which the room in question belongs to.
A natural question arises from the discussion: Will this market be the next frontier for all fashion companies or will it just remain a temporary trend?