This New Luggage Collaboration Channels the Old Hollywood Glam of Beverly Hills
You could say that Beverly Hills was built around the Beverly Hills Hotel.
It’s older than the place itself, for one thing, founded in 1912 by developer and socialite Margaret J. Anderson. (Beverly Hills, an inner suburb of Los Angeles, was incorporated in 1914.) But more than that, it’s often felt like the center of gravity. Over the years, this Sunset Boulevard icon has been a site of deal-making, intrigue, controversy, seeing, being seen, and some of history’s best parties — while playing host to the likes of Cesar Romero, Jane Fonda, the Eagles, and Albert II, Prince of Monaco.
Of course, packed poolside soirees and elbow-to-elbow cocktail lounges will remain just a memory for several months, at the very least. But if retail therapy is your thing, you can channel some of the glamor with a new capsule collection that sees the hotel’s Old Hollywood charisma expertly translated by Los Angeles accessories designer George Esquivel.
The Beverly Hills Hotel has refined the concept of the hotel gift shop in recent years with product launches including hat boxes, pajamas, pet accessories, and even custom bicycles by L.A.-favorite bike company Linus. This is Esquivel’s second collaboration with the storied property, following up a collection of small leather goods and highly coveted shoes in 2018.
“This first started when they told me, ‘A lot of the people that stay here wear your product. Would you be interested in making something for us?’” the designer said on a phone call with T+L. “I'm like, Are you kidding me?"
Esquivel, who noted that he grew up moving between “very rundown” extended-stay motels, was thrilled to be able to get to know one of the best properties in his city. “I do love hotels,” Esquivel told T+L. “There’s something about a good hotel — New York’s Gramercy Park Hotel, or the Grand Hotel du Palais Royal in Paris. It’s not even about how big and opulent they are, but about the people, the experience. And the Beverly Hills Hotel is a really special place. I just fell in love with it.”
When envisioning how he might pay tribute through design, Esquivel knew he wanted to reference one of the iconic visual cues of L.A. hospitality: the classic “Martinique” print. Created by venerable wallpaper designer CW Stockwell in 1942 — the same year Howard Hughes purchased six of the Beverly Hills Hotel’s now 23 bungalows — its massive banana leaves have lined the hallways of the Beverly Hills Hotel since 1949.
“The print was the hardest thing to develop,” said Esquivel of the motif that has become a signature of his work with the hotel. “I feel honored to have been able to play with it. The wallpaper has a more vintage feel, but I wanted to do something that's for today, but still recognizable.” Esquivel’s interpretation adds more white space for a modern update. For those in the know, though, it’s still immediately evocative of a certain Tinseltown lifestyle.
For this latest drop, the former Tumi creative director was excited to design some larger, travel-oriented pieces. “I love to travel,” Esquivel told T+L.“I wanted to create something very classic, very practical, that lets people take some of that Beverly Hills Hotel experience with them.” Each bag is made by hand at Esquivel’s DTLA atelier. The new collection includes a canvas tote; a larger, coated canvas carry-all with an internal removable pouch; and a limited-run duffel with an adjustable shoulder strap. All have leather details available in classic tan or a rosy pink (for those who dig the hotel’s signature Midcentury color scheme).
More hotel collabs are on the horizon for Esquivel in the coming year: he'll be popping up this spring at Washington, Connecticut’s Mayflower Inn, hosting masked shoemaking demonstrations and creating custom footwear for guests, and has a third accessories collection for the Beverly Hills Hotel in the works.
To buy: shop.dorchester.com, from $350