With tens of thousands of luxury hotels scattered among myriad exotic locations around the globe, hospitality groups are developing innovative amenities to attract top-dollar visitors to their properties. One such initiative, launched by St. Regis in 2010, is the Connoisseur program, which seeks out people at the top of their fields, like CFDA Award-winning fashion designer Jason Wu, who kicks off the program with the grand opening event at the St. Regis Bal Harbor resort this month.
As part of the program, Wu will be creating digital content and orchestrating global fashion experiences, including hosting several Midnight Suppers, a tradition born by St. Regis founding patroness Caroline Astor, who would entertain members of the “Astor 400,” including Peter Cooper Hewitt, Ogden Mills, and Cornelius Vanderbilt. “I would love to do a floral-themed Midnight Supper with the table dripping in white flowers,” says Wu, who celebrated his 27th birthday in 2009 with a Midnight Supper attended by Julie Macklowe, Olivia Chantecaille, and Zani Gugelmann. “The menu would definitely include a lobster thermidor paired with fresh market vegetables, followed by a tower of macaroons and flowing rosé Champagne.”
As to who would attend his dream affair, Wu’s guest list would be a who’s who of fashion and fabulousness. “My fantasy guests would have to include Diana Vreeland, Andy Warhol, and Tony Duquette,” he says. “I can’t even begin to imagine how interesting and crazy the conversations would be.”
Wu’s relationship with St. Regis began two years ago, when the rising design star debuted his Spring/Summer 2010 collection at the New York flagship; he later presented his Resort 2010 collection in one of the penthouse suites. “It is such a classic,” Wu says of the hotel on 55th Street and Fifth Avenue. “Showing at the iconic hotel proved that I had arrived as a designer—it was Jason Wu grown up.”
Once the playground of Manhattan’s Gilded Age aristocracy, the St. Regis New York was a logical destination for Wu, whose ladylike pieces have been seen on beauties such as Golden Globe winner Michelle Williams and First Lady Michelle Obama. “I see the St. Regis as both a classic and a modern name, which I feel is an apt description of my brand as well,” says Wu. “I am really excited to be a part of a legacy that is rooted in impeccable style that can stand the test of time.”