Lauren Steventon caught up with Amanda Ross, the new Fashion Director of W Hotels.
Summer 2010’s Fashion Week might be over, but fashion lives on in every aspect of our lives. No one understands this better than W hotels, who have recently appointed their first Global Fashion Director, Amanda Ross.
With a career spanning fashion magazines, film and television work, consultation for the biggest names in the biz and celebrity styling, Ross is perfectly placed for helping W find what’s ‘latest, newest, hippest and coolest’ in the world of fashion. Lauren Felicity Steventon caught up with her at the new W Barcelona.
So what is a W Global Fashion Director?
Well, I’m going to create a global perspective for them on fashion. I’ll be sourcing designs for The Stores that are in each property, and also for the Global Glam collection that W launched last year. Each individual property has a unique sensibility, personality and style, so it’s my job to pair the right designers with the right Store in the right properties. You have to take into account the climate, the people who travel and visit, what they want, what they’re looking for. You have to be in touch with how people travel today. Everybody wants something unique, nobody wants to travel and see the same shops. People are looking for something that feels unique and individual. I’m very excited to find what I think will be inspiring to the W traveler.
How did the position come about?
W has supported the fashion industry for years with chill out areas at the tentsIf you like a certain environment and aesthetic, it doesn’t stop, there should be a synergy or a thread throughout the property. We have to stay on top of what lotions and potions stay in the rooms… What’s next after the iPod stand? What’s next in fashion?
What do you particularly like about the W brand?
They have an incredible vision, they really embrace what’s next. That’s what we’re used to in the fashion community, predicting what’s next, so it’s very exciting to pair with a brand like W because I think fashion and design are obviously quite integrated, and I think there are endless possibilities for the future.
What sort of things will you be sourcing for The Stores?
Something that the guests haven’t seen before. Today everyone is so educated, so we have to really think ahead about what we offer. It’s about putting a collection together: “ This tells a story for this property.” I will go to a designer and ask them to make something exclusive. I think that’s what’s really exciting. People want to feel that when they buy something, they can’t buy it anywhere else, so you have to create this kind of allure. Fashion is very emotional, it’s not what you need, it’s about what you want, so you have to constantly create that desire by working with the designers on exclusive pieces for The Stores.
Will these pieces be different in the different properties?
Yes, I think that’s what keeps it interesting. When you pack for a trip, you pack differently for the different places that you go. For example in Barcelona we are talking to Ailanto, who come from the Basque country, and Joaquin Trias, who has been showing in New York, but is based in Madrid. I want the travelers to have a unique experience; they don’t want to have to run around the city to find something special. I went to a shop today, Jean-Pierre Bua, and I found this amazing jewelry, created by a Russian designer from vintage pieces, for example a vintage Dior scarf made into a chain.
Does travel inspire you?
Yes. I’m interested, I’m intrigued. I went to Istanbul, and I found necklaces that I ended up putting on ‘Lipstick Jungle’, the show I styled, in a film, I used them in a fashion show, the celebrities I work with went crazy… Everybody since has been saying “I went to Istanbul, I went to the market, I didn’t find that”. I’m a trained editor, I’m very curious, it never stops. So inspiration is walking the street, a book, films, on the catwalks.
What other fashion moments can we expect from W?
That’s one of the things I’ll be addressing when I get back to New York: what is next for W. What’s worked and what’s next. Maybe it’s about supporting a young designer and helping them with their show. I’m in an investigative period, and I need to understand where we are now, what the zeitgeist is, what people are doing, and where is best to take W in the future.
Finally, what is your idea of Luxury?
Good food, comfortable environment and beauty…