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PARIS — In his biggest hospitality project yet, Karl Lagerfeld has signed a deal for a 270-room signature hotel in Macau, WWD has learned.
This story first appeared in the March 7, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
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.