W Hotels is looking to raise their cool factor by linking up with the fashion industry. They’ve hired a “fashion director,” who won’t be directing anything clothes-related, but rather, forging connections between the hotel and up-and-coming designers. Jenné Lombardo recently helped a partnership between Milk Studios and MAC Cosmetics develop a new institution of New York Fashion Week shows that take place at Milk. Now she’s chosen six young designers for W’s Fashion Next program.
The relationship is functional marketing symbiosis at its best. The designers in the program will receive financial support for their shows this September, along with W-branded logistical help in the form of show DJs, catering, hair, and makeup. In return, the designers will take part in trunk shows, art exhibitions, lunches, and other events at W Hotels all over the world (Lombardo is creating upcoming events at the hotel’s locations in Moscow, London, and Bangkok). This sounds like an awesome time for everyone involved.
The emerging designers and labels Lombardo chose — Juan Carlos Obando, Nomia, Bibhu Mohapatra, Michael Angel, Rochambeau, and Electric Feathers — are young and edgy without being too out there or unknown. Obando, for instance, already sells his line at Barneys, but wants to expand his private-client business. The idea was that, while these lines still need support, they’re on track for success (with a little push from the W, of course) and more importantly, they’re established enough to bring along their own interesting circles and connections to W Hotel-related events.
Being based in New York, we’re accustomed to hearing about a hard-to-place cool factor with certain hotels — the Standard, the Ace, Bowery Hotel — coming up out of the ether. Will Lombardo’s specific new endeavor generate the same buzz factor for the W?