The Rise in Luxury Fashion and Hospitality Brand Collaborations

The Rise in Luxury Fashion and Hospitality Brand Collaborations

In December 2021, The Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong revamped its exterior with a striking display. The hotel adorned its facade with a chain of black and white pearls, featuring the Chanel logo and the iconic Nº5 perfume bottle as the focal points.

The transformation of The Peninsula Hong Kong’s exterior not only presented a visually stunning sight but also showcased a savvy marketing move that drew significant attention. Situated in a prime location on Hong Kong’s Kowloon side, the iconic hotel naturally commands the attention of passerby, who are captivated by its storefront offerings.

This collaboration between Chanel and The Peninsula adds to a burgeoning trend of luxury fashion brands partnering with hospitality groups to craft distinctive experiences. In Asia, such alliances are relatively rare, making Chanel and Peninsula’s partnership a standout example. However, with the success of this collaboration, we may soon witness an increase in similar ventures across the region.

In contrast to the rarity of such collaborations within Asia, Europe has seen numerous successful collaborations between luxury fashion brands and hospitality groups.

In 2022, Belmond collaborated with Dior to create the ‘Jardin des Rêves’ (Garden of Dreams), a pop-up spa at Splendido, A Belmond Hotel, Portofino. “Its success meant that we re-introduced it to our guests in the summer of 2023,” explains Arnaud Champenois, Senior Vice President, Global Brand Marketing of Belmond, “We also extended the partnership last year by introducing a Dior Spa onboard Royal Scotsman, A Belmond Train, Scotland and brought the ‘Jardin des Rêves’ to Grand Hotel Timeo, A Belmond Hotel, Taormina, for which two Dior treehouse treatment cabins were exquisitely designed amongst the cypress trees and overlooking the sea.”

Both Belmond and Dior are within the LVMH portfolio, making it a seamless transition. “At Belmond, we are reimagining our wellness offerings across our entire portfolio, driven by a strong alignment with world-class luxury brands under the LVMH umbrella,” added Champenois, “We strive for a harmony between our ethos and the brand we collaborate with, combining our passion for curating unforgettable moments with a keen attention to detail.”

LVMH brands, however, aren’t confined solely to their conglomerate. In 2023, Dior brought its ‘Dioriviera’ pop-up to The Beverly Hills Hotel (it also appeared in Saint-Tropez, Bali, Seoul, Phuket, Kyoto, and Capri). “We did a pop-up with Dior in which they took over our iconic pool and built a poolside boutique and spa cabana for our guests to enjoy,” said The Beverly Hills Hotel’s Brittany Williams, Director of Communications. “These collaborations not only enhance our commitment to provide unparalleled luxury but also adds a touch of excitement and fun to our guests’ stay.”

The Beverly Hills Hotel has also partnered with esteemed luxury brands like Buscemi, Orlebar Brown, Koio, George Esquivel, The Sil, Nick Fouqet, and more, crafting exclusive products exclusively available through the hotel. “Among our most sought-after items are the annual pyjama collections, chic dog beds, designer surfboards, home décor items and exquisite baby products,” said Williams. “Our pyjamas collections with SHHH SILK have always sold very well.”

There is an emphasis on understanding the client profile when it comes to these collaborations. “There are several factors we consider when looking at potential brand partnerships or collaborations; what our guests would like to see and what brands they enjoy most, brand reputation and alignment, potential for unique and memorable experiences for our guests, and exposure to a new target demographic,” said Williams.

In addition to crafting distinctive settings within hotels in partnership with brands, other collaborations have involved creating capsule collections, hotel-branded attire, spa installations, and even establishing retail spaces within the hotel themselves.

Opportunity
Fashion and hospitality are practically made for each other, presenting an ideal opportunity for collaboration.

“Experience is at the forefront of everything,” said Belmond’s Champenois, “The boundaries between luxury goods and experiences are becoming blurred, demonstrating a shift in the luxury landscape.”

As consumers seek more memorable and distinctive experiences, the concept of luxury is evolving significantly, especially among younger generations. “Luxury is no longer confined to the tangible goods alone; it has expanded to encompass real and genuine experiences, travel, and cherished moments,” added Champenois.

The intersection of fashion and hospitality offers a myriad of opportunities that span from culinary delights and champagne experiences to art and design, as well as wellness offerings. “This evolution of luxury presents a unique opportunity to offer guests a holistic journey that goes beyond traditional travel,” shares Champenois.

Having something fresh and novel to return to, whether it’s a beloved boutique brand or a storied heritage house, adds an enticing allure for travellers seeking to indulge in the travel experience.

Collaborations
Collaborations offer limitless possibilities for those willing to explore them. One such opportunity lies in curating a hotel-fashion collection that guests can purchase, adding an exclusive dimension to their experience.

In September of last year, Le Bristol Paris and Sporty & Rich joined forces, bringing together two iconic brands – one with a rich historical background, the other epitomising a modern ethos – to create the ultimate travel wardrobe. The collaboration swiftly garnered a devoted following, solidifying its status as a cult favourite. “Within 48 hours, we were sold out online,” said Catherine Hodoul-Baudry, Director of Sales and Marketing of Le Bristol Paris. “We share the same clients with luxury brands, it means that they can benefit from our hotel frequentation. Our guests (accommodation but also food and beverage) are their guests as well.”

Le Bristol Paris has also hosted the very first Gabriella Hearst boutique in its lobby.

“We need to share the same values and vision with the brands we are working with,” explained Hodoul-Baudry, “Most of the time, our histories have similarities, it helps a lot. From that, we do not have limits in terms of creativity.”

Catherine Hodoul-Baudry, Director of Sales and Marketing, Le Bristol Paris

Milliner Gigi Burris O’Hara, meanwhile, has worked with hospitality brands from W Hotels to the Ritz Carlton. In 2018, she launched a Panama hat collection with the former; and more recently, in 2022, she released an exclusive capsule collection of resort-inspired hats at the Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua. “As a milliner, we are often collaborating within the fashion world with ready to wear brands, film or stylists to bring their visions to life,” said Burris O’Hara, “The design guidelines feed into the property or brand and inspiration comes from different places and experiences.”

Teaming up with a fashion brand enables an expansion of the hotel experience, positioning both brands in a favourable light. “It is a tremendous value add to the client if they are able to purchase high style beautifully made goods while on holiday,” added Burris O’Hara.

“In working with Gigi Burris, the resort has been able to elevate the guest experience by offering exclusive amenities that transport guests back to Kapalua with every wear,” said Svetla Doncheva, Director of Spa and Retail at The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua. Gigi Burris collaborated closely with The Ritz-Carlton Maui Kapalua’s Hawaiian cultural advisor, Clifford Nae’ole, to create pieces tailored for travel convenience, and guest satisfaction. The collection comprised four women’s hats – the Nalu, Plumeria, ‘Olu, and Lokelani – along with two men’s styles, the Kapalua and Alaloa. Featuring raffia, wide brim, Panama straw, and fedora designs, the hats reflected Maui’s landscape, drawing inspiration from the hotel’s green hues, Kapalua’s foliage, and golf courses. These handcrafted creations were made available for purchase at The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua’s luxury poolside cabanas, The Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge at the Anuenue Room, the Kilohana Boutique, and online at GigiBurris.com until January 2023.

Le Sirenuse in Positano, Italy, has been a champion of collaborating with fashion brands to offer distinctive experiences. Consequently, they introduced their own line, Emporio Sirenuse, providing guests with a special memento to bring home with them. “When my niece was living in India, working with embroidery ateliers in Mumbai, everything came into place: we created a range of prints inspired by Positano and designed a collection of sundresses and caftans perfect for our locale,” shared a rep from Emporio Sirenuse. “Since then, Emporio Sirenuse has grown into everything from womenswear to menswear to home goods with the spirit of Le Sirenuse.”

This summer, they are introducing a capsule collection of silk separates featuring a print designed Louis Barthelemy, combining the iconography of Positano with that of Egypt, where he often works. They are also launching a range of dishes with illustrations by the artist Lucy Stein, who has several works of art throughout the hotel. “Like most all of our collaborators, both Louis and Lucy were guests of the hotel and our partnership began from mutual admiration,” said the rep.

Koio, renowned for its handcrafted Italian sneakers, frequently partnered with hospitality brands. Among their collaborations in the hospitality sector, the most recent is with the illustrious Positano Hotel Le Sirenuse. Owned by the Sersale family for generations, it stands as a pinnacle of luxury along the Amalfi Coast. Additionally, Koio collaborated with Le Sirenuse, The Beverly Hills Hotel, incorporating their iconic banana leaf pattern into a unique sneaker design. “It was so successful that we did several rounds of that collaboration, launching different styles of sneakers with them,” said Johannes Quodt, co-founder of Koio. “Among the 20 or so collabs that we’ve done, Le Sirenuse and [The] Beverly Hills Hotel were the most successful,” added Quodt, “The Le Sirenuse collab sold through it within record time. The whole collection was sold out within only a week or two.”

Similarly with The Beverly Hills Hotel, exclusivity and experience made it even more desirable. “In order to get the shoe, you had to go to The Beverly Hills Hotel and visit the store and buy the shoe there. There was no way to get it on any other path and that was what was really special about it. We also sold through the collaboration very quickly and did a follow-on collab with different styles,” shared Quodt.

Certainly, the collaboration offers an extensive reach by connecting with a new audience through a compelling narrative. Moreover, it presents an intriguing business opportunity for hotels to boost their revenue. Through promotions on their channels, multiple posts on Instagram, frequent newsletters to a large email subscriber base, and online advertising campaigns, it orchestrates a significant activation around the collaboration, which their partners find highly valuable.

Besides capsule collections, wellness also plays a large part in fashion-meets-hospitality collaborations. Since the Dior Spa opened at Plaza Athénée in 2008, it has opened frequent opportunities for pop-up events over the years (Christian Dior’s own recipes in the Relais, for example, or team building exercises with Dior international boutique managers). The Dorchester Collection, of which the Plaza Athénée is part, even created a competition to boost fashion students with a significant monetary prize and visibility. Furthermore, the Plaza Athénée’s appearance in popular US television shows like Sex & the City and Emily in Paris, has led to a highly successful collaboration, appealing to fashionistas and garnering significant attention.

Image Courtesy of Plaza Athénée, Paris
Louise Prévost, Director of Guest Relations at Plaza Athénee

“Choices are made on a brands’ international reputation, especially those certified as haute couture houses,” explained Louise Prévost, Director of Guest Relations at Plaza Athénee, “In today’s world of visual online presence, high-end lifestyle is interwoven with the major fashion brands, where top end hotels such as the Plaza Athénee make the perfect backdrop.”

Another unique way to showcase fashion hospitality collaborations is through fashion shows. For two years running, Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel, Cape Town has hosted Confections x Collections, an annual coming-together of South African creative expression. “The event is fun and inspiring, fusing five days of exclusive salon-style fashion shows with designer-inspired confectionary by pastry chef Vicky Gurovich,” shared Belmond’s Champenois. In 2023, the line-up of designers included: Chu Suwannapha, Sindiso Khumalo (2020 LVMH Prize Finalist), Leanne Viviers, Palesa Mokubung and Wanda Lephoto. “The event always captures the creative spirit of the Mount Nelson, known as the ‘Nellie’ by locals, and vibrant Cape Town. This year, Mount Nelson is celebrating its 125 years and I can’t wait to return for Confections x Collections which will be even bigger than ever.”

Room for growth in Asia
There’s a wealth of growth opportunities in Asia for collaborations between fashion brands and hospitality. According to various brands and hotels, there’s been a notable surge in interest from Asian travellers in these products.

Johannes Quodt, co-founder, Koio

“We do have significant interest from Asian customers,” said Koio’s Quodt, “We ship internationally and we get a lot of international orders primarily from Hong Kong and from Singapore but also from Japan and Korea.” They’ve also introduced a Lunar New Year capsule, now in its fourth iteration, where they design a sneaker that encapsulates the story of the respective zodiac sign for the Lunar New Year. This capsule has proven to be exceptionally successful, consistently selling out quickly every year and becoming one of their most successful capsules to date.

For Le Bristol Paris, their two major markets are USA and Europe (UK, France, Germany). “However, we have many loyal guests from Asia (mainly Japan and South Korea),” shared Hodoul-Baudry.

Plaza Athénee has also noticed a rice in Asian clientele. “Thanks to our broad international reach and careful choice of our fashion brand ambassadors, we have developed solid presence in the US, Brazil, and Europe,” shared Prévost, “The interest of an Asian clientele is mainly thanks to our collaboration with Dior, present during the presentation of the seasonal catwalk fashion weeks.”

“Collaborating with fashion brands bring numerous benefits, such as creating unique experiences for our guests, attracting a new target demographic of guests, enhancing our overall brand presence, generating additional revenue and strengthening our position as a cultural and fashion destination,” said Williams.

“I would love to be able to do a collab with an Asian hotel,” shared Quodt, “Because I do think the way hospitality is understood in Asia is just on a different level than the rest of the world.”

The synergy between fashion brands and the hospitality sector in Asia presents a dynamic avenue for growth, driven by the increasing interest from Asian travellers. The success stories from brands like Koio, with their Lunar New Year capsules, and the rising Asian clientele at renowned hotels like Le Bristol Paris and Plaza Athénée, underscore this trend. These partnerships hold the potential to redefine luxury experiences, making them richer and more culturally attuned to the discerning Asian market.

Sign up for our newsletters to have the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox every week.

Faye Bradley

Contributor

Faye Bradley
Recommended For You
Life at BurdaLuxury – Kook Chantan

Life at BurdaLuxury – Kook Chantan

Kook is one of our Lifestyle Writers for Lifestyle Asia Thailand. Specialising in Drinks and Dining, Kook takes readers on a spicy journey (to say the least), and he never misses a beat. Can you tell us about your career journey at BurdaLuxury?This is my third year working at BurdaLuxury. I had worked in the […]

Exploring the Evolution of LGBTQ+ Travel in Asia

Exploring the Evolution of LGBTQ+ Travel in Asia

In a watershed moment, Taiwan blazed a trail in 2019 by legalising same-sex marriage, setting a precedent for LGBTQ+ rights across Asia. Building on this momentum, the country took another significant stride forward in 2023 by legalising gay adoption, solidifying its commitment to inclusivity. Meanwhile, Nepal celebrated a historic milestone at the end of 2023 […]

BurdaLuxury Announces Bryan Goh as Editor of Lifestyle Asia Singapore

BurdaLuxury Announces Bryan Goh as Editor of Lifestyle Asia Singapore

Bangkok, 4 June 2024 – BurdaLuxury, one of Asia’s leading media companies, announced the appointment of Bryan Goh as the Editor of Lifestyle Asia Singapore, effective June 3, 2024. Goh joins BurdaLuxury from Heart Media Group, where he served as the Beauty & Grooming Director at Men’s Folio Singapore and Grazia Singapore.   “I am thrilled […]