PARIS — In his biggest hospitality project yet, Karl Lagerfeld has signed a deal for a 270-room signature hotel in Macau, WWD has learned.
Located in a 20-story tower as part of the future Lisboa Palace luxury development, it is expected to open in 2017.
Lagerfeld’s partner in the venture is Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, or SJM, the gaming concessionaire that is also building Palazzo Versace Macau for its resort destination in Cotai, which is to comprise Michelin-starred restaurants, a shopping mall, a wedding pavilion and a multipurpose theater.
A day after staging his Chanel ready-to-wear show in a vast mock-supermarket set, Lagerfeld signed a binding memorandum of understanding for the hotel on Wednesday in Paris with SJM executives Angela Leong and Louis Ng, along with Veronica Chou, director of the Karl Lagerfeld business in Greater China.
In an exclusive interview, Lagerfeld said the hotel would be “kind of 19th-century style, but I want it modern at the same time.”
Asked how he might approach such a massive project, he replied, “Like my own houses and apartments, but I have more houses than I need, and I don’t want to do any more. So I can — how could I say? — get rid of my frustration by doing hotels.”
A self-professed fan of hotel living, Lagerfeld told WWD his personal preferences certainly would come to bear on the Macau project.
“You know, Gabrielle Chanel always said, ‘I only make dresses I would wear.’ And I make only rooms where I would like to sleep. It’s as simple as that.
“When I do a thing like this, I think, ‘Would you live there or not? Do you want to wake up there? Do you think the bathroom is comfortable?’ It’s very childish thinking, but you know it’s like the song ‘My Way.’”
SJM chairman Ambrose So said the partnership with Lagerfeld “further demonstrates Sino-Western cultural interchange, which has a long tradition in Macau.” He also lauded Lagerfeld as a “multitalented and visionary designer.”
Lagerfeld joins a growing list of designers and luxury brands to have branched out brands into hotels, one that includes such names as Giorgio Armani, Bulgari and Baccarat.
The Macau project dovetails with a retail rollout for the Karl Lagerfeld brand, with a London flagship soon set to join boutiques in Paris, Berlin, Munich, Amsterdam, Shanghai, Beijing and Antwerp in Belgium — part of several dozen planned openings worldwide over the next five years.
Pier Paolo Righi, president and chief executive officer of Karl Lagerfeld Group BV, called the hotel an “important milestone in the development of our brand and business globally, and specifically in Greater China,” where Lagerfeld now counts five stores.
SJM, which is controlled by SJM Holdings Ltd., is publicly listed in Hong Kong.
“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