Why Diane von Furstenburg is re-modelling Claridge's

Discover the latest fashion designer to dabble in interior design
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The Independent Online

Today's top fashion designers need more than catwalk success and sellout handbags. They need a hotel to brand their own. The latest fashion designer to succumb to this hotel design trend is Diane von Furstenburg. The designer, famous for her iconic jersey wrap dress, is bringing a new look to a series of rooms at London's famous Art Deco hotel Claridge's this June.

 

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Versace, Ralph Lauren, Christan Lacroix… they've all designed hotels and many of the smaller fashion houses are following suit. In February this year, Moschino opened the fairytale-like Hotel Maison Moschino in Milan, a former railway station boasting 54 individually style bedrooms and 15 suites. The opening is in perfect timing for the hordes of design-fanatical travelers descending on the city for the Milan Furniture Fair next month.

Closer to home, Edinburgh got a surprising injection of hotel couture when Italian fashion label Missoni opened their first hotel in the city's Old Town last year. Spread across six floors, the Missoni hotel is an extension of their already popular home line that includes striking vibrant throws and signature zigzagged poufs. Expect rainbow bedspreads, colourful bathroom tiles and splashes of bright hues across a monochrome backing. The next fashion hotel due to fling open its doors is Hotel Armani in Dubai later this month.

While Missoni, Moschino and Armani have opened hotels in their own names, other designers prefer to dip their toe into decorating. Like von Furstenburg, Betsey Johnson chose to collaborate with an already prestigious hotel rather than start from scratch. Johnson plans to create a pink suite inspired by Kay Thompson's Eloise at The Plaza in New York.

The collaboration between Claridge's and Von Furstenburg won't come as a surprise to those in the fashion and hotel industries. Claridge’s has long been a fashion favourite with fans including Luella Bartley, Kate Moss and the late Alexander McQueen. Last Christmas, fashion designer John Galliano showed his support and decorated the hotel’s Christmas tree. Von Furstenburg has taken inspiration from Claridge's in the past; she based her Cruise Collection 2009 on Claridge’s deco designs.

"For more than a century, Claridge's has stood as an emblem of timeless glamour," commented Stephen Alden, CEO Maybourne Hotel Group. "Our collaboration with the talented Diane von Furstenberg is the latest storyline within our history of forward- thinking design. Diane’s personal love and passion for Claridge's provides a unique perspective which she will draw upon in executing her creative vision."

Von Furstenburg will provide a new look to 20 of the hotel’s 203 bedrooms and suites using her signature prints, bold colours interspersed with Claridge’s antique furniture. She is not designing any of the public spaces.

The Belgian American fashion designer says, "To me, Claridge's is the most glamorous hotel in the world. I regard it as my home away from home. I am honored to become part of the hotel’s legacy and rich design history. One of my fondest memories was when I was in London as a young, independent businesswoman and stayed at Claridge's. I knew I had made it."

While Claridge's will be the first showcase of Von Furstenburg's vision into interior design, the real hype comes early next year. To be released January 2011, she is launching a homewares collection (featuring jazzy bedding, tabletop and bathroom accessories) with textile furnishings company Spring Global. The collection is inspired by nature, contemporary art and vintage prints used in her fashion collection.

Von Furstenburg already has the sellout handbags and the catwalk success – and come June, she'll have a hotel to call her own. It's a wrap.

Annie Deakin is Editor of furniture and interior design website mydeco.com.

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