Do you dress in Giorgio Armani suits? Sit on a Giorgio Armani couch? Wear Giorgio Armani’s perfume? If the answer is yes, yes and yes, then why not live in an Armani condo?
That’s real estate marketer Michael Shvo’s idea. Fashion designers like Armani and Jade Jagger are partnering with him to merge home with fashion. Shvo is using their stylish vision in his buildings to market not just designer residences, but a designer lifestyle. "We’re not selling the four walls, the kitchen and the bathroom," Shvo said during a recent tour of the Armani and Jagger sites in Manhattan. "We’re selling you an experience. That’s something that we try to convey. That it really wraps around you."
Fashion designers are changing the landscape of a luxury apartment market already filled with star architects and celebrity interior designers, says Deborah Needleman, editor of magazine Domino.
"I think the question is can you buy a lifestyle? Can you buy someone else’s style? They’re not just trying to sell you an apartment. It’s a way of living," she says.
At Shvo’s very fashionably named 20 Pine The Collection building in New York’s Financial District, customers are greeted by Armani’s signature subdued tones and walls of high-tech computer screens. A video playing next to a replica of Armani’s fashion runway in Milan talks about the "couture concept of lifestyle living."
There’s nothing random about the location of this Armani building, where the kitchens and bathrooms are decorated with Armani’s home brand Armani/Casa.
Armani’s clothes are iconic to Wall Street, Shvo says, very much in line with the condo buyer in that neighbourhood. At the Jade Jagger building, Jade, in New York’s hip Chelsea neighbourhood, a disco ball hangs in the doorway and potential tenants are led into a dark room where thumping club music plays and an image of Jagger appears on a wall.