W Hotels Worldwide Takes Innovative Fashion Next Program Global

Maldives Promotion HouseW Hotels Worldwide recently kicked off Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center with the announcement of the Spring 2012 season of Fashion Next designers. The six designers, who specialize in a range of concepts from tailored menswear to reversible dresses, were introduced by newly appointed W Hotels Global Fashion Director, Jenné Lombardo, during a breakfast event at W New York.

Lombardo handpicked each of the six designers to join the third season of Fashion Next, the W Hotels fashion initiative that fosters and supports emerging designers. With Lombardo at the helm, Fashion Next, will for the first time in the program’s history, bring emerging fashion talent to a global audience.

As part of the initiative, W Hotels will host these six designers’ official presentations in the Box venue at Lincoln Center, and this season, W will now also support additional local fashion talent at fashion week events in London, Moscow, and Bangkok.  Throughout the remainder of the year, all of the selected Fashion Next designers will have the opportunity to travel to W Hotels around the world and collaborate with the W brand on other W fashion and design projects worldwide.

“As W Hotels continues to expand globally, we have a great opportunity to provide a platform for supporting and showcasing what’s new and next in fashion,” Global Brand Leader for W Hotels Worldwide and Le Méridien, Eva Ziegler said.  “We are taking the W Hotels Fashion Next program global for the first time, which now allows us to share our point of view on fashion with W guests and locals around the world.”

This season’s Fashion Next designers represent a wide variety of styles and influences, from cutting-edge digital prints to feminine pieces made with hand-dyed silks.

Bibhu Mohapatra

Bibhu Mohapatra showed an interest in fashion at an early age. In 1996, he moved to New York City to attend Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). He graduated one year later, having received the prestigious “Critic’s Award for Best Evening Wear Design.”  He has now completed his seventh ready-to-wear collection under his namesake label, which features elegant designs inspired by the vibrant colors and fabrics found in his native country, India.


Designer Yara Flinn is entering her third season with Nomia.  The 29 year-old New York-based designer’s downtown style features sleek and slinky dresses, jumpsuits, and blouses made with fabrics such as stretch silk.

Juan Carlos Obando

Juan Carlos Obando taught himself about design when he started deconstructing vintage finds. In 2008, he began showing his work to the public following a private show with Vogue Editor in Chief Anna Wintour.  His initial collection created such buzz that he garnered a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund nomination.  Based in Los Angeles, Juan Carlos is now a member of the CFDA.

Michael Angel

Since the debut of his collection, New York designer Michael Angel has continued to generate acclaim in the fashion and art worlds alike, garnering industry-wide attention for his pioneering use of digital prints. The blending of textures and colors create uniqueness in his pieces that reflect an undeniable energy.


Electric Feathers

Electric Feathers designer Leana Zuniga’s concept is to capture timelessness and versatility in contemporary designs.  Her line features one-of-a-kind pieces that have more than meets the eye; most of her silk hand-dyed dresses and skirts are convertible or reversible.



Rochambeau is comprised of three menswear designers – Michael Venker, Joshua Cooper, and Laurence Chandler.  The line incorporates the designers’ love of design and their shared vision for unique men’s fashion.

For the first time in the W brand’s history, the Fashion Next program will this season be brought to a global level, with designer showcases at fashion weeks from New York City to London, Moscow, and Bangkok.  In both London and Moscow, Global Fashion Director Jenné Lombardo has aligned herself with two internationally celebrated ‘Fashion Insiders’ to choose six up-and-coming designers, three from London and three from Moscow.

A film will also be shot by each Fashion Insider showcasing the W Hotels Fashion Next initiative along with the work of the three designers and interviews with Lombardo. The films will launch at the start of London’s Fashion Week in September and Moscow’s Fashion Week in October.

The Fashion Next initiative will then travel to ELLE Fashion Week in Bangkok, Thailand, one of the most prominent fashion events to take place in Asia today. Lombardo will work with ELLE Magazine Thailand to identify an emerging Thai designer to become part of W Hotels Fashion Next.

Times Square also celebrated the third annual Fashion’s Night Out with a photography exhibit titled, “Between Us, A Model’s Life,” an exclusive collection of photographs from Annemarieke van Drimmelen, the Dutch model turned fashion photographer.  Hosted by W Hotels Global Fashion Director Jenné Lombardo along with Ivan Shaw, Vogue Photography Director and curator of the exhibition, jewelry designer Zani Gugelmann and van Drimmelen, the event will also include a pop-up bazaar, featuring products for sale from designer George Esquivel and Fashion Next designer Juan Carlos Obando. French duo sensation Miaou Mix will perform their world-renowned live DJ set.

Moreover, in celebration of this season’s Fashion Next designers, W Hotels is presenting an exclusive set from British singer/songwriter Katy B, taking place the night before her celebrated album, “On A Mission,” makes its US debut.  The live performance will take place on Monday, September 12 in the Box venue at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center from 8pm to 10pm.

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