NEW YORK — Service with style is the soup du jour in a flurry of new clubs, restaurants and at least one hotel.
Knowing the fashion savviness of their employees can register with patrons as much as their decor does, some nightlife establishments are latching on to well-known or up-and-coming designers to assure that employees look their best.
“Above all, the design of a restaurant determines the look and feel that we want to portray, but the way in which we present our staff is extremely important,’’ said Sasha Alexandre Tcherevkoff, co-owner of Pop Burger and the new Pizza Bar here. “They are sometimes the first impression that we give our guests, and in New York, first impressions can determine whether or not we fill seats.”
Tcherevkoff has been lobbying some big names to suit up the staff at Pizza Bar when it bows at 48 Ninth Avenue in Manhattan in a month or two, though he declined to identify them.
Dressing up the help is a proven tactic. Stan Herman, who just redesigned uniforms for FedEx and FAO Schwarz, has been at it for decades. In 1972, he first freed Avis employees from wearing more red than Santa Claus. “I really felt a uniform should be more like clothing than a billboard,” he said.
When Herman went to work on TWA’s uniforms in the Seventies, he took over duties previously handled by Valentino who went so far as to put a “V” on the buttons. At that time, the airlines had clout with designers like Bill Blass, who designed stewardess outfits for American Airlines. Emilio Pucci was also on the circuit, designing six hostess uniforms for Braniff International Airways from 1965 to 1974.
There has been a bit of a designer resurgence with the airlines. Richard Tyler is giving Delta flight attendants a makeover, Julien MacDonald has done the same for British Airways and Kate Spade dresses Song staffers.
For lesser-known talent, collaborating with smaller operations helps get their names out there among some of the city’s more discriminating style mavens.
Here are six designers who have spiffed up uniforms on the nightlife scene.
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