Some fifteen years ago, our client at the time, Kempinski Hotels and Resorts, was contracted to manage the hotel under construction on Australia’s Gold Coast, designed by Versace. That was one of the first true collaborations between a hotel owner, manager and fashion house.

While interior designers like Philippe Stark have been involved in designing hotels, this was the beginning of what’s since become a trend. The first in NYC was the Royalton, which Stark did in all white. Its since been renovated, but as an interior designer he set the trend for high style in hotels. As an NYC boutique PR firm in the hotel and travel field, we are always on the lookout for these kinds of trends.

An article earlier this year in the South China Post, while a bit behind the times, noted Versace’s involvement in a hotel in Macau, stating it was the first such collaboration. However, perhaps the most noteworthy is Armani Hotels, now a full-blown brand of its own. Its debut was Armani’s hotel in Dubai, which was reviewed a year ago in WSJ.com:

“The Armani Hotel Dubai, Giorgio Armani’s debut in the hotel world, occupies 10 floors in the world’s highest tower with 160 guest rooms, eight restaurants and lounges, a 12,000-square-foot spa and other Armani-branded retail shops. The lines are clean and the colors—gray, chocolate brown, black and crème with red accents—are strong. Canadian Eramosa marble flooring and rich satin and silk sofa coverings make the Armani feel expensive. Make no mistake: It is.”

Other big name designers to get involved with the trend in recent years are Diane Von Furstenberg, Karl Lagerfeld, and now Oscar de la Renta. De la Renta has announced collaboration with Peninsula, where he will be creating a collection of bathroom amenities. That type of collaboration is more in the vein of traditional such associations, which are limited to a service amenity within the hotel.

Meanwhile, the Dorchester Collection has announced a Fashion Prize for Emerging fashion talent. And hotel chain W, which is always coming along for the ride on trends, has signed on with the Council of Fashion Designers of America. It now offers “inspirational trips” to various W hotels.

While in the past, the designers have been involved just to the extent of a specific suite, tabletop, linens, or uniforms for high profile hotels, they are starting to get involved in the earlier stages, like in the Armani example.

Armani teamed up with the developer Emaar to create hotels and residences that are at the top of the world market in terms of design, and their hotel in Dubai, located in the city’s tallest building, is a perfect example. The company now has two hotels in Milan.

It’s worth paying attention to this trend, and certainly Armani is ahead of the pack!