Fashion has always been infused in the Equinox brand and in line with that ethos celebrity stylist and creative consultant Kate Young has designed the uniforms for the new Equinox Hotel.
She is in good company, with photographer Nick Knight shooting the short film featuring Naomi Campbell to promote the new luxury property. Started as a more stylized fitness club in New York 25 years ago, Equinox now has 100 clubs in the U.S., U.K. and Canada. Building on its health-is-wealth mind-set, the company’s new Hudson Yards property starts welcoming guests on Monday. The 212-room property’s design required enlisting David Rockwell/Rockwell Group, Ken Smith Workshop and David Childs/SOM, as well as Joyce Wang for the Equinox Fitness Club and Spa.
In an interview Friday, Young said she approached the uniform project much like she would working with one of her celebrity clients. The stylist was interested in the DNA of the brand, determining what they want to accomplish, identifying the ideal customer and “feeling out within the context of New York City, Hudson Yards and Equinox the brand what the look should be.”
To some degree, her Intuition turned out to be a casting vote. “The hotel is cool because it sort of speaks to me in a lot of ways. I’m the customer — I’m somebody who travels a lot for work, wants to maintain all my wellness goals, but also have fun and sleep very well,” Young said. “Hudson Yards is a lot of inspiration. It is like a new neighborhood in New York City that is so modern and architectural. There is something futuristic. It’s like the opposite of the East Village.”
Guests at Equinox’s new hotel can see the Young-designed uniforms on an assortment of staffers including the bellmen, concierge, front desk associates, the front-of-house manager, housekeepers, handymen, room service attendants and spa specialists. One of her favorite designs is the transparent hooded raincoats the bellmen will wear with a black cap. Another is the utilitarian “really great” cotton jumpsuit worn by members of the back-of-house. “I just think that’s really cool. I have one and I have been wearing it. It’s really funny people have been asking about it. They may wind up selling it,” she said.
Young aligned with Lady and Butler founder Eli Caner and her team to finesse the fit for the uniforms. Sheer turtlenecks and neoprene sweatshirts, and rubberized Equinox Hotel tags are among the looks. Design is not a new sector for the stylist, who creates sunglasses and optical frames through a collaboration with Tura. She is also on the advisory council for the International Woolmark Prize.
Along with the official opening for Equinox’s first hotel, Young is busy helping Margot Robbie with the press tour, including next week’s premiere, for the Quentin Tarantino film “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood.” Next in line is Dakota Johnson, whose latest flick “The Peanut Butter Falcon” will be released early next month.
Adept as Young is at finding just the right look for every red-carpet turn, defining her own style is more difficult. “I think that is the hardest question. The thing that I always say is ‘edgy classic,’ but it is kind of a joke. It was the name of a story that I worked on for Vogue two decades ago. I like certain silhouettes and I tend to re-buy them in updated colors, fabrics or prints every year,” she said. “I tend to be a little utilitarian, but I like a little twist.”
That assessment could also suit her ties to Equinox. She put her agility to the test as a member of the fitness chain, and she hopes to sharpen her design acumen with future Equinox hotel projects. Los Angeles, Santa Clara, Calif., Seattle, Chicago and Houston are among the cities where Equinox Hotels are under development.