PARIS — Luxury titan Bernard Arnault is expanding his role as innkeeper.
Signaling an additional path of expansion, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton said Thursday it would open Cheval Blanc-branded hotels in Oman and Aswan, Egypt, as it launches a new business activity, LVMH Hotel Management.
Named after the famous vineyard LVMH controls, the new hotels are already under construction in partnership with Samih Sawiris, chairman and founder of Egyptian property firm Orascom Development Holding AG. They are slated to open in 2012, in collaboration with Jean-Michel Gathy of Denniston International Architects.
Each hotel will boast 30 to 40 suites — along with luxury boutiques and spas under other LVMH-owned banners. The Oman project, on a small island in the Indian Ocean, will boast 32 private villas, each larger than 5,000 square feet and with its own beach and swimming pool.
Group Arnault, a holding of Arnault, LVMH’s chairman and chief executive officer, opened the first Cheval Blanc hotel in the French ski resort Courchevel in 2006. Today, it boasts a Givenchy spa, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior boutiques, and has enjoyed occupancy rates in excess of 90 percent despite room rates that start at 1,450 euros, or $1,938 at current exchange, during high season.
LVMH does not plan to own future Cheval Blanc hotels, but simply collect fees for management contracts. Under the business model, the French firm “maintains complete control over the concept, distribution, brand and image” of the hotels, including recruitment of staff, “while minimizing capital commitment,” the company said, noting “other projects are currently under study in exceptional destinations.”
The luxury firm cited “considerable demand” from its clients for luxurious resort experiences.
Last week, LVMH appointed architects for the revamp of La Samaritaine, the department shuttered store that will be reborn as a retail-to-housing complex and include a hotel. However, it has yet to reveal who will be involved in managing and operating the hotel, the LVMH spokeswoman noted.
A growing list of fashion and luxury players has entered the hotel business in recent years under various business models, including Versace, Missoni, Moschino and Bulgari, which has opened two hotels with Marriott International Inc. Giorgio Armani’s first hotel is slated to open in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa tower on April 21.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast