Despite being an international hub, Dallas has experienced just a fraction of the coronavirus cases as has New York (about 9200 vs. 200,000)—so it’s no surprise that gyms, bars, restaurants and shops have already begun opening back up there. And, no surprise, veritably every action being taken has been swept up into the escalating socio-cultural war surrounding the crisis.
Hotels represent unique situations, of course—with guests coming from all over the world to congregate under one roof…all with possibly different ideas of what it means to be taking precautions. So rigorous measures are naturally being undertaken to ensure everyone’s safety.
But what hasn’t been talked about much, are those more ethereal aspects of our contemporary urban lives that have lain dormant these last ten weeks or so, replaced by vintage TV binging and too much bread baking. Fashion, especially, took a bow and left the stage, acknowledging that flouncing around flamboyantly and/or expensively was probably not the best look for the time. But calling upon our dormant desire for nattiness seems to be a reasonable strategy for finding our way back to some sense of normalcy. And Virgin Hotels‘ Dallas outpost is leading the stylistic charge, with a new installation titled Together Again: Reconnecting Through Fashion and Art.
Organized by Kristen Cole of Forty Five Ten (she a style arbiter, it an exalted local boutique), the display is spread throughout the hotel and comprises a dozen chicly adorned mannequins, done up in particularly bold, challenging—and colorful—pieces by designers like Christopher John Rogers (a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner), CFDA Swarovski nominee and milliner Gigi Burris, and 2019 CFDA womenswear designer of the year nominee Rosie Assoulin. Contributions also came by way of Archive Vintage, and some well-chosen contemporary art pieces are woven into the narrative.
But the installation also has a more serious purpose. Indeed, it is meant to make guests aware of social distancing guidelines, without the usually ominous visuals that go along with such a purpose.
“With the hotel located in the Dallas Design District, we wanted to do something artistic, bold and characteristically Virgin to promote social distancing in the hotel,” says Teddy Mayer, Vice President of Design at Virgin Hotels. “Instead of removing furniture or roping off areas, we thought bringing in mannequins to supplement limited capacity requirements would be more upbeat and lively. Kristen Cole brought it far beyond my expectations.”
Cole remarks of the unprecedented assignment, “I selected joyful and bright fashion and art pieces that celebrate life and coming together.”
Seems like precisely what we need right now.