‘RIOT HOUSE’ STYLE MAKEOVER: A famed Los Angeles hotel has made over its image, and the staff is getting a new look to match.

The former Hyatt West Hollywood, a rock ’n’ roller favorite known as “the Riot House,” has been renamed and made over as an Andaz Hotel property, the new boutique division of the global hotel giant. Now called Andaz West Hollywood, the hotel on the Sunset Strip has partnered with local designers Velvet by Graham & Spencer and Vince to supply a fashion-forward twist on employee “uniforms.”

This story first appeared in the December 24, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Rather than wear a standard suit or uniform, employees can choose from a variety of items from the holiday 2008 Velvet collection and spring 2009 Vince collection. Andaz West Hollywood worked with Los Angeles-based stylist Gili Rashal-Niv to put the looks together.

“We wanted to make sure that our attire did not define specific roles at the hotel but rather it defined our employees’ personal taste in fashion,” hotel general manager Michel Morauw said. “We want to be consistent in our service and attention yet varied in personal style. We’re delighted to be able to offer our staff some variety.”

Andaz West Hollywood, scheduled to open on Jan. 8, will be the second property to open under the Andaz banner, following last year’s Andaz Liverpool Street, launched in London in November 2007. Subsequent property openings scheduled include Andaz Wall Street and Andaz Fifth Avenue in 2009, followed by Andaz Austin in autumn 2010.


FRENCH CONNECTIONS: When it comes to Giorgio Armani’s future, speculation about a deal between the designer and L’Oréal, his longtime beauty partner, has been alive and kicking for some time — but apparently Armani flirted with a new flame.  

The designer implied in a recent interview with Bloomberg News that he had held talks with Hermès to merge the two companies, a move he claimed would have benefits to both parties. Armani noted he’s a longtime admirer of the storied French luxury goods house known for its status Birkin and Kelly bags. But by Armani’s own admission, the talks went nowhere and an agreement was never reached because of the numerous Hermès family shareholders. An Armani spokesman declined to elaborate, and Hermès officials had no comment.




SHOE PONG: No, not the drinking game. Do you have what it takes to beat Stuart Weitzman at Ping-Pong? The shoe designer and Ping-Pong aficionado is hosting an online video contest to search for “the ultimate fan” to challenge him to a Ping-Pong duel at his New York showroom. Rules and regulations for the online contest will be outlined on Zappos.com and stuartweitzman.com, which will run from Friday until Jan. 9. Each contestant must create a creative video testimonial depicting “Why I think I can beat Stuart Weitzman in Ping-Pong.” The top prize is an all-expenses-paid trip to New York to play Ping-Pong against Weitzman, as well as a shoe wardrobe from the designer.

FUR TREE: Moving on from its collaboration with Gustavo Lins, French fur producer Terzakou has tapped Alexis Mabille and Requiem to design lines for its luxury T.Paris designer brand, to be presented during Paris couture week in January. Requiem will present 20 women’s designs inspired by Fifties Parisian chic, while Mabille will unveil seven unisex pieces including a men’s fur tuxedo. Certain pieces will feature in Mabille’s couture show. “I approached fur as a precious fabric rather than a skin, working with shaved mink that resembles silk velvet, for example,” said Mabille. “I wanted the fur pieces to have a clean finish with a subtle mix of tones.” Prices for the lines will start at 1,000 euros, or $1,700 at current exchange.

TROVATA CROSSES BORDERS: Trovata is setting its sights on opening two freestanding stores in Tokyo next fall. The new units will be in addition to the company’s year-old flagship located in Newport Beach, Calif. The retail expansion is part of Trovata’s efforts to extend its reach. Collaborating with MTV, Trovata designed an Eighties-style T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase “Lovers Love Life.” The top will be sold at Urban Outfitters and Nordstrom, with all proceeds going to MTV’s AIDS charity, Staying Alive. Hinting at Trovata’s global ambition, creative director John Whitledge said he chose such a simple message because “we want to sell at other places, as well.”

CELEBRITY SHOE-IN: Celebrity stylist Johnny Wujek may be the next one to branch out to the role of designer. But rather than create pricy baubles à la Andrea Lieberman for Mouawad, Wujek is designing affordable shoes for Solo Inc. under the label Johnny Wujek for Modern Vintage. The first season, this fall, was comprised of gladiator sandals and picked up by Nordstrom, Intermix, Zappos.com and Shopbop.com (pal Mischa Barton was also spotted wearing them around town last summer). The spring collection captures another trend: the chunky platform sandal in neutrals and neons. This time, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus and American Rag Cie have placed orders for the February delivery. At $295 retail, the shoes may prove to be a true commercial hit, reinforced by another trendsetting pal, Rachel Bilson, who has already placed an order in size 5 1/2. If not, Wujek can always stick with styling his clients Kate Mara, Katy Perry, Amber Heard and Bryce Dallas Howard.


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