IN Italy, where fashion designers are modern Medicis, nightclubs are named after Roberto Cavalli; restaurants designed by Giorgio Armani and Dolce & Gabbana; museums dedicated to Gucci and Ferragamo; and theaters — used only a few days a year for their runway shows — built by Gucci, Armani, Prada and Versace.
Despite the country’s economic woes, its designers are in a mode of Renaissance-like expansion, and nowhere is this on finer display than in their latest fixation: hotels. Modeled after the images of their designers and popping up in cities around the world, recent entries include a Hotel Missoni in Edinburgh, where the bedspreads are printed with vivid stripes, and a much-fussed-over Armani Hotel that opened this winter in Milan, in a modern glass-walled structure erected atop an austere building from the 1930s. These join established designer-innkeepers like Versace, Bulgari and Ferragamo.
For fashion lovers, such hotels offer the opportunity to submit fully to the designers’ visions — not only to wear the clothes, but also to live, at least for one night, with their beds, sheets and bathrobes, just as Giorgio or Donatella intended. This is what you are buying anyway: the chance to dream in their worlds, literally.
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