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NEW YORK — You wake up in Calvin Klein Land, in a bed that’s a tasteful shade of gray in a bedroom filled with his furniture, including a dresser packed with his underwear. Padding down the hall, you pass through the Armani living room, its layout designed by Giorgio himself on a sketchpad in Milan and composed entirely of Armani Casa.

This story first appeared in the November 26, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The cream-on-cream color palette is so dense it exerts gravity — you barely escape. Finally, in your home office, you flip on the Bloomberg terminals and lie back on the Joseph Abboud-appointed bed to watch the new good news from Wall Street.

Welcome to life in the Esquire Apartment — and the trademarked future of luxe living.

Sitting at the top of the Trump World Tower — at 90 stories up, it’s the tallest home in the world — the Apartment is the showpiece of the magazine’s 70th anniversary festivities. It has played host to almost nightly parties for two months, but will shortly go dark for good. The apartment itself, a $17 million penthouse, is still up for sale by Donald Trump, who has been unable to find a buyer with a taste for living that high since 9/11.

Prospective residents now have two options — the raw space at the listed price, or the Esquire Apartment for just a few million dollars more. But what exactly would you be buying?

As originally conceived by Esquire’s associate publisher, Stephen Jacoby, each room in the Apartment is a product of the pairing of a sponsor — like Armani, Klein, or Nautica — and blue chip designer/decorators like Jamie Drake, Karim Rashid and Sills Huniford. In the end, it’s still a showroom, albeit one that’s livable and increasingly less implausible.

The fashion labels Esquire recruited for the project all branched out from men’s wear a while back, leading to Nautica linens at Bed Bath & Beyond and an Armani Casa store in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood.

Stefano Tonchi, Esquire’s departing fashion creative director (he’s the new Style editor at the New York Times) helped write the book on the subject, last year’s “Total Living.”

“The book illustrated how fashion designers have been changing the way we live, taking the form of the places around us with a total environment, with home collections, with restaurants which have their names, with holiday resorts which have their names,” Tonchi said. “They’ve influenced the way we behave to the point that now when you see something modernist, you think Gucci or Tom Ford…and now when you see something minimalist, you see Calvin.”

Their rivals aspire to the same influence.

“The way people dress themselves and their homes are really two sides to the same coin,” e-mailed Nautica ceo David Chu, who outfitted the Apartment’s “Media Room” in collaboration with his brother, interior designer Peter Chu. “By extension, if a consumer likes the way you dress him or her and help them to create their home environment, they might also like to stay in a Nautica hotel, or maybe live in a Nautica home.”

But is that in the best interest of a Nautica home owner? Immersing oneself in a monobrand existence seems like a surefire recipe for eventual boredom, and the risks facing a label determined to pursue such a strategy — licensing debacles like Pierre Cardin and pre-Ford Gucci — are well documented.

“You can’t argue that most people are brand driven,” said Karim Rashid, an Apartment contributor who straddles the roles of designer and living design brand (one best known for blobular, translucent objects like the Oh chair). “But there was a time when a brand could pull the wool over our eyes. Now, if we get let down by the quality of the brand, we don’t come back. I coined a word 20 years ago — ‘branddump’ — to describe the act of rejecting a brand.”

Stephen Sills of Sills Huniford, who designed the Calvin bedroom, said: “It’s just marketing. Believe me, there’s enough work for everybody. I think it’s fine that the fashion designers do their home lines. It even makes the decorator look better. When you work with us you get a more personalized sensibility. Of course, some people might just like a generic look and feel safe with it, and then they can go out and buy more clothes.”

“The book illustrated how fashion designers have been changing the way we live, taking the form of the places around us with a total environment, with home collections, with restaurants which have their names, with holiday resorts which have their names,” Tonchi said. “They’ve influenced the way we behave to the point that now when you see something modernist, you think Gucci or Tom Ford…and now when you see something minimalist, you see Calvin.”

Their rivals aspire to the same influence.

“The way people dress themselves and their homes are really two sides to the same coin,” e-mailed Nautica ceo David Chu, who outfitted the Apartment’s “Media Room” in collaboration with his brother, interior designer Peter Chu. “By extension, if a consumer likes the way you dress him or her and help them to create their home environment, they might also like to stay in a Nautica hotel, or maybe live in a Nautica home.”

But is that in the best interest of a Nautica home owner? Immersing oneself in a monobrand existence seems like a surefire recipe for eventual boredom, and the risks facing a label determined to pursue such a strategy — licensing debacles like Pierre Cardin and pre-Ford Gucci — are well documented.

“You can’t argue that most people are brand driven,” said Karim Rashid, an Apartment contributor who straddles the roles of designer and living design brand (one best known for blobular, translucent objects like the Oh chair). “But there was a time when a brand could pull the wool over our eyes. Now, if we get let down by the quality of the brand, we don’t come back. I coined a word 20 years ago — ‘branddump’ — to describe the act of rejecting a brand.”

Stephen Sills of Sills Huniford, who designed the Calvin bedroom, said: “It’s just marketing. Believe me, there’s enough work for everybody. I think it’s fine that the fashion designers do their home lines. It even makes the decorator look better. When you work with us you get a more personalized sensibility. Of course, some people might just like a generic look and feel safe with it, and then they can go out and buy more clothes.”

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