Airbnb was founded by two San Francisco designers whose apartment had room to spare, so they bought three air mattresses to host three travelers looking for a place to stay. Now the company wants to move beyond its humble beginnings to establish itself in a market where elevated design matters. Cue Phillip Lim, who designed Airbnb’s inaugural capsule collection, which will be available for preorder on July 12 on the designer’s web site.
Lim was asked to design pajama sets for men, which will retail for $225, and women’s, for $195, for three weekend getaway destinations that are popular with Airbnb’s community: New York’s Catskills; Palm Springs, Calif., and Nashville.
Airbnb sent Lim a selection of landmarks that represent each region’s aesthetic, along with homes with strong design elements for inspiration and to give the designer a taste of the various manifestations of local art and craft.
Lim said his sleep set for the Hudson Valley was inspired by the rustic and historical towns and natural beauty of the Hudson River. “Alive with greenery, it transported me to cool nights by a fire and crisp days spent hiking mountain trails,” the designer said, adding that the gingham check for the pajamas “feels like a youthful, fresh wink to an earlier Americana.”
Palm Springs evoked for Lim “the Hollywood misfits of yesteryear: a desert oasis with sprawling, split-level homes tucked into the hills. I chose a vintage palm print for this design. It’s a whimsical reminder of midcentury modernism and the unabashed sensuality and hedonism of the Sixties.”
Cool kitsch and polished camp is how Lim described Nashville. “It’s Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash and the Grand Ole Opry,” he said. “The only option for Nashville was my custom-designed, 3.1 Phillip Lim leopard print, which is an homage to the city’s legacy of rock-‘n’-roll glam.”
The designer relished the opportunity to combine two of his favorite things: fashion and travel. “Airbnb opens up the world to explore and be constantly curious,” he said. “Those are core values of 3.1 Phillip Lim also. We create cool, easy, chic wardrobe essentials for modern global citizens. The collaboration felt personal and authentic to me and who we are as a brand.”
Lim said while he designed men’s and women’s sets for each location, they’re interchangeable, so people can wear whatever they feel drawn to. “They’re meant to be versatile,” the designer said, adding that his fans will see the pajama sets — the cropped top can be paired with jeans, and the kimono may be worn open or layered over a tank top, for example — as collectibles.
The designer said his clients and Airbnb consumers are both “demographically as well as geographically diverse. They’re creative professionals who represent a wide range of ages and cultural backgrounds, and they want their wardrobes to reflect that eclecticism and curiosity.
“Airbnb is about inclusivity,” Lim added. “At 3.1 Phillip Lim, we always say, ‘You can sit with us,’ so that philosophy resonates with me. I’m in awe of the community Airbnb has built in just 11 years — destinations in 100,000 cities and 191 countries, global locations that are authentic, diverse and sustainable. It’s a true community — and a tribe like ours — of hosts and travelers.”
Airbnb Luxe bowed in June, built around the expertise gleaned from the company’s 2017 Luxury Retreats acquisitions with 2,000 homes worldwide that must meet more than 300 different criteria for elevated design standards such as premium materials and finishes, and rare and unique features.
Tracing the platform’s growth from airbeds, to spare rooms, then to entire homes, to Airbnb Plus to boutique hotels, Airbnb Luxe is described as a luxury experience that makes personal and bespoke travel more accessible to everyone. Think: renting a British castle or French chateau.
Airbnb’s new Adventure offers “wilder and deeper experiences such as visiting a warrior camp in Kenya or sand-surfing in Oman. Treks are designed for small groups, from the nervous novice, up to the seasoned spelunker.