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STYLE : COSTUMES : Service With a Style

December 12, 1993|BARBARA THORNBURG

Doormen dressed as pirates or pharaohs work the front entrances, and cocktail servers stroll the casinos like so many glittering Hollywood starlets or kohl-eyed Egyptian queens. In Las Vegas, what hotel staffers wear is more theatrical costume than uniform, another opportunity to restate and expand on the house fantasy. Still, form must follow function when designing these elaborate outfits. "We have to cater to a broad range of figures. Real people, not models, wear these clothes," says Joan Poggioli of Poggioli Design in New York, who created the costumes for the 7,000 employees at Luxor and Excalibur. "We build in adjustable features, like Velcro waistbands." At Treasure Island, gold buckles come with elastic bands that are guaranteed to fit any shoe, from sneakers to wingtips.

Besides fit, fabric is another major consideration. "People work in these costumes--they perspire," Poggioli says. So generally, costumes are made from lightweight brocades and polyester-cotton blends. Because they can be costly (the Treasure Island doorman's Captain Hook get-up alone runs more than $2,000), costumes are washed or dry-cleaned daily. At the Mirage, where employees are issued three changes of clothes, Alan Lurie of Uniforms to You in Chicago, which designs uniforms for several Las Vegas hotels, says staffers typically have "one on the back, one on the rack and one in the cleaners." And how long do these duds last? "It depends," he says, "but with dry-cleaning them every day, we hope a year."

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