W Hotels Worldwide Breaks New Ground with Fashion on a Global Level

As W Hotels Returns to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York for the 12th Season, the Innovative Lifestyle Brand Unveils a Range of Unique, First Ever Fashion Inspired Experiences

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- W Hotels Worldwide, the hotel category buster and leading industry innovator, today unveiled a unique, multi-layered strategy that links the W brand with the global fashion industry while bringing its passion for fashion to life in W Hotels globally. Since its inception more than 10 years ago in New York, fashion has always been integral to W Hotels, and as W continues an aggressive global expansion, more than doubling its portfolio by 2011, fashion has become a primary international brand platform. Today, W Hotels returned for the 12th consecutive season to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York with its re-invented exclusive and stylish VIP Backstage Lounge, where celebrities, designers, models and fashion's elite escape the scene behind the scenes. Evolving its commitment to fashion, W today has also unveiled a series of firsts that will further strengthen the link of the W brand to the fashion industry, including a fashion-forward partnership with Barneys New York, which includes Barneys New York's Creative Director Simon Doonan's exclusive Tips for Surviving Global Fashion Weeks on the windows of W New York - Union Square; the debut of Private Designer Collections created by established and emerging designers for W Hotels The Store (W's twist on the traditional hotel gift shop); support of the global fashion initiative Fashion's Night Out, featuring consumer perks at W Hotels The Store locations throughout New York City; and the creation of a W Hotels concept space that will host a series of exclusive designer events during Paris Fashion Week this October.

"As a contemporary lifestyle brand aiming for design leadership, fashion is a vital tool for us to attract our loyal guests made up of trendsetters and trend seekers," said Eva Ziegler, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide and Le Méridien. "Fashion is constantly evolving and reinventing itself on a seasonal basis, which helps us showcase that W is 'on trend' and update our guest experiences seasonally in innovative ways on a global level."

W Hotels' New Design of its VIP Backstage Lounge at Bryant Park Will Once Again Be Fashion Week's Hot Spot for Celebrities and Fashion Industry Notables

Today marks the 12th consecutive season that W Hotels Worldwide has been a major sponsor of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York, once again creating a unique and stylish VIP Backstage Lounge at Bryant Park. Known as the most sought-after spot for celebrities and fashion's elite to mix, mingle and relax in style in between shows – Justin Timberlake, Kate Bosworth, Heidi Klum, Tommy Hilfiger, and Christian Siriano have all been recent guests - the W Hotels VIP Backstage Lounge is sure to once again be the A-list destination to unwind and relax in between shows. This season, W's newly appointed Global Music Director will put a dynamic and vibrant spin on the lounge by bringing in renowned DJs and live performers to fill the space with stylish music all week long. Designed by New York-based designers ICRAVE, this season's lounge offers a fashionable escape that celebrates W's newly created WET decks (the W brand's re-interpretation of the hotel pool area) from around the world, from Doha to Hollywood, Barcelona to Vieques Island. Guests are encouraged to mix and mingle in a faux-pool area lit in shimmering electric blue tones surrounded by large cabanas with Chiasso pillows and candles, banquette seating with modern pillows from looloo, stylish books from Assouline, and a contemporary bar and DJ booth. A key visual moment of the room is a giant W made entirely of Havaianas, the fashionable Brazilian flip flop.

W Hotels Partners with Barneys New York in an Innovative Way

As retailers around the world are uniting to support the fashion industry, W Hotels has joined cause, partnering with Barneys New York to unveil a re-imagining of the store's iconic window displays in a place they have never been constructed before - a hotel window. Created by Doonan, this one-of-a-kind installation features Donnan's Tips for Surviving Fashion Weeks around the world, in each of W New York - Union Square's five massive ground floor windows. Each tip is cheeky and carefree, and merges the colorful, whimsical, attention-getting style for which both W and Barneys New York are known. Ziegler and Doonan will unveil this unique window display to the media and fashion's elite with a private reception today at the hotel, while the windows will be on display to the public through the end of October 2009. In support of one of the world's most beloved retailers, the partnership also provides W Hotel guests with exclusive perks – including complimentary bellinis and discounts – when they shop at Barneys New York and Barneys Co-Op stores.

W Hotels The Store Launches Exclusive Designer Collections Inspired by the Design of Five New International W Hotels

A trendsetting collection of retail boutiques located in W Hotel properties around the world, W Hotels The Store has become known for what's hot in fashion and design. In honor of W Hotels' global growth, W Hotels The Store will debut private, exclusive collections to celebrate the fashionable spirit of vibrant W Hotels around the world. Featuring exclusive items from Rachel Leigh, Lauren Merkin, Alex and Ani, Foley & Corrina, and more, each of the five capsule collections has been inspired by the design of new or upcoming W Hotels, including W New York - Downtown, W Istanbul, W Hong Kong, W South Beach and W Santiago. As each W Hotel is unique in its design approach, incorporating local references in cool and playful ways, one might notice the Art Deco influences of W South Beach on a clutch by Lauren Merkin or the Ottoman inspired design of W Istanbul in a necklace by Diane Yang.

W Hotels Joins in Fashion's Night Out

W Hotels has signed on to participate in Fashion's Night Out, the global initiative to promote retail, restore consumer confidence, and celebrate fashion. This evening, W Hotels The Store at W New York and at W Times Square will join leading fashion retailers around the world by hosting a night of fabulous shopping for consumers. W will debut its exclusive new private collections inspired by the design of newly opened W hotels with the help of some of the designers who created them, including Jay Lakhami for Deepa Gurnani, Rachel Leigh, Amy Vennema for A.V. Max and Sandy Hyun. Shoppers, who will receive a 20% incentive at W Hotels The Store, are invited to mix and mingle with designers and fashion's elite and sip complimentary champagne while they shop.

W Hotels Heads from New York to Paris Fashion Week for the First Time

As W Hotels continues its global expansion, it will head from New York to the renowned Paris Fashion Week this October for the very first time. For many Parisians, this will be their first introduction to the W brand before the opening of W Paris-Opera in late 2010. This introduction of W will help to create brand awareness by using the international language of and the brand's passion for fashion. During Paris Fashion Week, W will create a private event space in the hip Bastille neighborhood for celebrities, designers and fashion's elite in Paris to relax and unwind in between fashion shows and take in special performances and surprise events once the day turns to night, including an exclusive performance by French singer and actress Emmanuelle Seigner. W has an existing presence in Europe with W Istanbul and will soon open W Barcelona (October 2009) as well as W Hotels in Paris, London, St. Petersburg, and Milan, among other vibrant European destinations.

About W Hotels Worldwide®

W Hotels is an innovative contemporary lifestyle brand and the hotel category buster with 33 properties in the most vibrant destinations around the world. Inspiring, iconic, innovative and influential, W Hotels provides the ultimate in insider access to a world of "Wow." Each hotel offers a unique mix of innovative design and passions around fashion, music, entertainment, design, architecture, pop culture, and everything in between. W Hotels are unique and individual expressions of modern living, reflected in the brand's sensibility to a holistic lifestyle experience with cutting-edge design, contemporary restaurant concepts, glamorous nightlife experiences, and signature spas. With 10 years of proven success, W Hotels will triple its footprint by 2011. In North America and Latin America, W Hotels have been announced in Austin, Boston, Hollywood, Huntington Beach, and Downtown New York. In Europe, W Hotels have been announced in Athens, Barcelona, London, Manchester, Milan, Paris and St. Petersburg. In Asia, W has announced properties in Bangkok, Guangzhou, Macao-Studio City, Shanghai and Yokohama. In Africa and the Middle East, W has announced properties in Marrakech, Amman, and Dubai. W has plans to open W Retreats in Bali, Koh Samui, Vieques Island and Verbier, the latter of which will serve as W Hotels' first ski retreat.

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