Hotels increasingly are turning to the world of fashion to make their properties more attractive to guests who want a touch of luxury, and to create a source of buzz.
As New York City's Fashion Week 2013 spring collection shows get underway, Starwood's trendy W chain on Wednesday is announcing a partnership with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, in which emerging clothing designers chosen by the council eventually will visit W's 42 hotels around the world to display their new designs.
W hotels from Boston to Bali will host designer trunk shows that will give budding designers exposure to potential customers, says Starwood executive Carlos Becil.
"Introducing our guests to emerging designers - and the next wave of what we anticipate will make an impact in fashion - will help benefit our whole promise of what's new and next," he says.
The partnership also is aimed at drawing attention to the hotels.
W plans to videotape the designers and events for W's Facebook and Twitter accounts, its in-room "W Vision" TV channel or its website whotels.com, which gets more than 1 million page views a month, Becil says.
The W chain first turned to fashion nine years ago to create buzz by opening a pop-up location at New York's Fashion Week, which now is sponsored by Mercedes Benz and attracts other sponsors ranging from American Express to Skyy Vodka to its events.
Now, other hotels are turning to fashion designers in search of similar buzz.
Last month, the Hilton chain signed a deal with designer Vivienne Tam to create limited-edition slippers as special treats for Chinese guests.
Some designers have put their names on entire hotels. Italian designer Giorgio Armani opened the Armani Hotel Milano in November after opening his first hotel in the world's tallest building, Dubai's Burj Khalifa.
"A big percentage of our clients are Armani fans," says Aaron Kaupp, the Milano's general manager. "Obviously, everyone is very stylish."