Luxury hotels typically pull out all the stops when it comes to designing their property, deciding on which furnishings to use and what amenities to provide. But those looking to set themselves apart go even farther by hiring fashion designers to create their runway-style staff uniforms. As they reinterpret what cutting-edge properties should look like, more hoteliers are redefining the status quo with their revamped attire. In our search for the best uniforms in the industry, these five hotels stood out as our favorites; and truth be told, we want to buy some of these outfits for own closets.
Photo Credit: Sofitel So Bangkok
Sofitel So Bangkok
French fashion designer Christian Lacroix needs no introduction. But then again, neither does Sofitel. The luxury brand’s portfolio spans the globe, reflecting its French lifestyle panache in each of its 121 hotels. For their Bangkok property, they enlisted the help of Lacroix to decorate its interiors and employee uniforms. His work can be seen in the Club Signature Lounge and through the lobby’s installation piece. The French designer focused on ‘Neo Arbre de Vie,’ an Asian-inspired nouveau, while drawing inspiration from the Tree of Life, an ancient symbol of immortality in Thai culture. When it comes to best-dressed staffs, Sofitel So Bangkok’s team may take the cake. Dressed in bold, bright colors and striking patterns, employees look like they just stepped off one of Lacroix’s catwalks.
Photo Credit: Watergate Hotel
The historic Watergate Hotel recently announced a collaboration with Mad Men’s award-winning costume designer Janie Bryant for their uniforms. Bryant is known for recreating the show’s iconic and glamorous 1960’s pieces, and this will be her first hospitality project. Both Bryant and the property shared a vision to capture the spirit of the hotel’s heyday when it was a playground for powerful guests. Drawing on vintage photographs of the property for inspiration, her collection is colored in red, grey, gold-camel and black palettes. Sophisticated silhouettes; A-line checkered dresses; four-button, windowpane-patterned suits; and black topcoats and pants with gold-camel piping make up just some of Bryant’s looks. Female whisky bar servers will don red and grey windowpane sheath dresses, while doormen will welcome visitors in stylish Hamburg hats. Following a $125 million renovation, the Watergate will finally welcome back guests in these retro-inspired styles this summer.
Photo Credit: David Peck USA/JW Marriott
JW Marriott Houston Downtown
At the age of 14, Houston designer David Peck began sketching women’s clothing and launched his own line at 21. Today, his renowned fashion house is known for its classically-tailored silhouettes, artfully-structured pieces and local manufacturing. Last November, Peck teamed up with JW Marriott Houston Downtown to create unique uniforms for the property, the first collaboration of its kind for both parties. Inspired by Houston’s current design trends and the city’s 104-year-old Samuel F. Carter skyscraper, Peck created custom ready-to-wear pieces that evoke an East Coast high-society feel through their shapes and colors. Distinct, standout prints, fair-trade tweed and bold lines form the womenswear line while sharp suits, vests and bowties create his menswear attire. Not only does the hotel pay for the uniforms, but Peck also includes a 150-page style guide to help them find ways to mix and match their looks.
Photo Credit: Styleexpo Photography
Park Hyatt New York
Could Park Hyatt New York’s little-black-dress uniforms be any more Manhattan? Chic, classic and feminine, the dresses created by Cuban-born fashion designer Narcisco Rodriguez are the kind of uniforms we wouldn’t mind putting on every day. In 2008, Rodriguez dressed Michelle Obama on the evening she joined her husband on stage to celebrate his presidential victory. Known for his minimalistic designs, Rodriguez partnered with Park Hyatt before its opening last year to craft a look for the property’s female staff members. The knee-length ensembles come in sleeveless, capped or 3/4 sleeve options and include cutouts in the back, offering a hint of subtle sexiness. What’s great about these dresses is their fabric that comfortably fits every sized woman, embracing her natural curves and enhancing her shape.
Photo Credit: Rosewood London
Rosewood London’s Nicholas Oakwell couture-designed uniforms take us back to vintage London. Inspired by British Manor House style, Oakwell used local materials such as tartan and tweed for his slim-fitting pieces, recalling the hotel’s sense-of-place philosophy. Men don camel-colored overcoats and newsboy caps along with white checkered shirts, dark tartan pants and charcoal grey blazers. Female staff members, on the other hand, have a few options to choose from including well-tailored, wool-silk blend wardrobes that create vintage silhouettes. Last September, the UK designer’s London Fashion Week show played out in front of a sold-out crowd. While these pieces are a stray from his usual flowy gowns, they fit well with the hotel’s timeless-elegance style.