W Hotels Worldwide Franchise Moves From Backstage to Center Stage at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York

After 13 Seasons Backstage at Bryant Park, W Hotels Launches Fashion Next Program Supporting Emerging Designers and Hosts First-Ever Global Glam Fashion Presentation at Lincoln Center, Among Other Hot Fashion Happenings at Its New York City Hotels

September 10, 2010 // Franchising.com // New York, NY – W Hotels Worldwide, the hotel category buster and industry innovator, today announces another industry first with the launch of Fashion Next, an integrated approach to fostering and supporting fashion designers all year long. Launching at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Fashion Next brings W from backstage, where it has hosted a VIP Lounge during the New York shows for the past 13 seasons, to center stage, where it will host the presentations of several emerging designers who W will then collaborate with beyond fashion week. Another industry first, W Hotels will also debut its newest Global Glam Collection of fashion and accessories for a first ever formal presentation at Lincoln Center, while the W Hotels of New York have another exciting line-up of hot fashion happenings all week long.

"W Hotels' alignment with fashion, the ultimate extension of design, enables us to constantly evolve our programming and appeal to our guests who eagerly anticipate what's new and next," said Eva Ziegler, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide and Le Méridien. "As Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week has transformed this season with its move from Bryant Park to Lincoln Center, we too have transformed to become a more active participant in fashion week, supported by our recently appointed Global Fashion Director Amanda Ross."

Fashion Next - W Hotels Supports Emerging Designers

As part of a new fashion initiative called Fashion Next, Fashion Director Amanda Ross, has hand-picked four rising stars who W will support during fashion week and beyond. Chosen for their sense of style and design aesthetic, W's Fashion Next will give the designers a platform that will help them grow their businesses. Starting with Fashion Week, W will host the official presentations of designers Monique Péan, Bibhu Mohapatra, Sophie Théallet, and Rebecca Moses in the Box presentation space at Lincoln Center. After fashion week, the designers will travel to W Hotels around the globe for trunk shows in important fashion markets and have the opportunity to design exclusive pieces for W's next Global Glam collection. W will also provide the designers with additional exposure through Fashion Next segments on W Vision, the hotel group's in-room TV channel viewed by W's more than 1.8million guests globally, and through other marketing and retail programming all year long.

Global Glam Presentation and Celebration with Artist Róisín Murphy

In another industry first, W Hotels will formally launch its Winter 2010/Resort 2011 Global Glam collection with a presentation at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. A fashionable interpretation of W's continued global growth, Global Glam is a seasonal line of fashion and accessories inspired by the design of new or upcoming W Hotels. Curated for the first time by Amanda Ross, this season's collection includes exclusive pieces from 16 renowned designers, including Porcelain, Behnaz Sarafpour, Fallon, Kara Ross, Minnie Mortimer, Olivia Harris by Joy Gryson, Duro Olowu, Christys of London, Roberta Freymann, Jennifer Creel, Simone, Melissa Obadash, Lulu Frost, Saga Furs, Glamourpuss, and Leigh & Luca. For W's latest collection, each designer was inspired by the design narrative for W Retreat & Spa - Vieques Island (now open), W London - Leicester Square (opening early 2011), and W St. Petersburg (opening early 2011).

The presentation for W Hotels' Global Glam collection will be held in the Box at Lincoln Center on Sunday, September 12th, with Amanda Ross and many of the Global Glam designers in attendance. The presentation will feature three dramatic vignettes representative of each destination. Oversized screens hung from the ceiling will surround the collection, displaying artfully produced videos of the Global Glam look book shoot, shot on location at W South Beach by noted fashion and celebrity photographer Guy Aroch. W's Global Music Director Michaelangelo L'Acqua has produced the music soundtrack for the event inspired by this season's Global Glam, while Charlotte Voisey, the celebrated mixologist of W New York - Downtown, will create signature cocktails inspired by each destination. Following the presentation, W Hotels will hold a VIP celebration headlined by avant-garde musician, video artist and DJ Róisín Murphy. Global Glam is sold exclusively at W Hotels The Store locations and online.

W Celebrates Fashion's Night Out

In honor of fashion's biggest night, W Hotels has enlisted renowned fashion artist Danny Roberts (igorandandre.blogspot.com) to create two exclusive tote bags inspired by his favorite sketches. On September 10th, Fashion's Night Out, the totes will be offered as limited edition gift with purchase for the first 100 shoppers at W The Store on the seventh floor of W New York - Times Square. Consumers can also enter to win an exclusive portrait sketched by Roberts, who will be on hand at the hotel signing his tote bags during an exhibit of his favorite works. Bliss Spa technicians will also be on site at W New York and W New York - Times Square to give tired fashionistas complimentary Credit Card Relief hand massages.

Fashion Happenings at W Hotels of New York

This season, the W Hotels of New York are putting their most fashionable foot forward with an exclusive line-up of must-attend events. Showcasing the breadth of the fashion industry, the hotels will host some of the week's hottest fashion happenings, including a photo exhibit with renowned street style photographer Craig Arend, a week-long visual design installation by the artist Jennifer Steinkamp, the official fashion week presentation of CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist Gregory Parkinson, and after parties for designers Richie Rich and Manuel de la Cruz. In addition, the W Hotels of New York are offering another season of the best-selling Catwalk Package which includes: two invitations to a show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week; the limited edition Danny Roberts-designed tote bag; a bliss triple oxygen™ instant energizing mask; two "Stylish SIP" cocktails; and either a Fantastic Suite at W New York - Union Square or a Spectacular Room at the recently opened W New York – Downtown.

About W Hotels Worldwide

W Hotels is an innovative, contemporary, design-led lifestyle brand and the hotel category buster with 36 hotels and retreats in the most vibrant cities and exotic 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 and entertainment. W Hotels offers a holistic lifestyle experience that is integrated into the brand's sensibility through contemporary restaurant concepts, glamorous nightlife experiences, stylish retail concepts and signature spas. With more than 10 years of proven success, W Hotels is on track to more than double its footprint by 2011. W Hotels and W Retreats have been announced for London, Paris, St. Petersburg, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Taipei, Bali, Koh Samui, and Verbier, among other international destinations.

About Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1000 properties in nearly 100 countries and 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft®, and Element SM. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts.

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