NEW YORK—Hotel team members at IHG’s traveler-centric brand Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts will be getting a whole new look in 2017 when they don uniforms designed especially for them by New York-based fashion designer Timo Weiland.
Sketches of Momentum by Timo Weiland, the new collection of uniforms for all Crowne Plaza Hotel & Resorts in the Americas region, were unveiled last month, during Fashion Week in New York City. Weiland was named the brand’s new style director.
The partnership between the global lodging chain and the designer is part of IHG’s Crowne Plaza Accelerate plan, which includes a $200 million investment in the brand for the Americas region. The initiative aims to make Crowne Plaza the brand of choice for the modern business traveler by making it holistic, more design-led, technologically able and culturally relevant, according to Eric Lent, VP of Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn brands for the Americas.
“We realized what better way to be design-led than to partner with one of the nation’s top-rising designers. Timo was the perfect fit,” said Lent. “We love how fresh and vibrant his team’s fashion was. We are in the final stages of figuring out exactly how many uniforms they will have.”
Focusing on front-of-house staff, the goal of the new design was to create a uniform that lets Crowne Plaza staff members feel confident, put together and polished. A uniform that feels natural yet professional, noted Lent. “Our guests are looking for an ally or advocate, someone who could help them recharge, be inspired and be at their best,” he said.
Weiland and his team set out to reinforce that image of confidence and professionalism by designing a uniform that is both stylish and comfortable. “We haven’t finalized the fabrics but it is meant to be a stretch crepe so there is a lot of ease of movement,” he said. “It can be great for layering, or worn just as it is.”
“The uniforms are very much New York-inspired. They have a modern-prep aesthetic and our signature upbeat energy,” added Weiland. “I played with volume this season. Nothing too form-fitting; it’s about looser, longer lines. The responses were phenomenal; we received really good reviews. We are sort of sleep-deprived but New York Fashion Week was the perfect place to make this announcement. It was amazing to have the opportunity to present this collaboration.”
One very important aspect of the design was to ensure the uniform looks and feels good on everyone. “We definitely want that dress to be able to fit all body types, whether it is the curvier figure or a more slender, taller figure,” explained Weiland.
As for the color of the new uniforms, the designer incorporates tones and shades of the brand’s signature color throughout the collection. “It is the plum color of Crowne Plaza,” he said. “It is more of an accent color or highlight rather than an overwhelming theme color. We didn’t want the whole crew to be wearing all purple.” Added Lent, “They very interestingly wove the brand colors into the uniform. We didn’t want to lose that piece of the identity. It was a challenge but we are happy with the way it all came together.”
Another important element of the design is its versatility and adaptability, considering the varied locations of the brand’s hotels. “We have hotels across North and South America; 400 worldwide, 84 in the global pipeline and 140 in the Americas region,” Lent said. We needed to have a range of uniforms that would work in cooler climates, tropical climates, urban markets and suburban markets. Timo has created a range of uniforms for us that will fit several different situations.” Lent added that the newly designed uniforms will initially be launched in five hotels in five climates next summer, and the company will begin shipping the uniforms nationally in July 2017.
Lent added that it was exciting to be able to finally present to owners sketches of the new uniforms, they are solid evidence of IHG’s commitment to brand enhancements as outlined in the Crowne Plaza Accelerate program, which was first announced three months ago.
“This was the first material and tangible proof point of us delivering on the program for the next three years. We are very excited about where we are, excited about the momentum of the business and we are happy to have Timo Weiland and his team to help us out with this,” he said. “We are over the moon to have this come together.” HB