As a self-confessed hotel addict, not being able to travel during lockdown meant that designer Olympia Le-Tan had to find a new vice. And while that meant she joined us all in having a short-lived baking obsession, she also launched her new label.
An ode to the feeling of spending a night in the superior soft sheets of a hotel and waking up in a foreign location, Hotel Olympia was born.
"A lot of the things that I had at home were things that I'd nicked from hotels, everything had a hotel logo on it. And I really like that," says the brand's founder. "It's those little things that when you can't travel remind you of when you were there or make you dream about traveling."
Le-Tan confesses to owning almost every item you can possibly take from a hotel without it being noticed: pens, ashtrays, bathrobes from the spa (taking them from your room is risking being caught), tablecloths, note paper, etc. and it's those trinkets from past adventures which her brand now focuses on.
Her personal favorite pieces have "property of Hotel Quora" written on the label, something you can find replicated in goods from Hotel Olympia, inspired by the hotel in Tokyo. It's a city that she has an affinity for, having launched the brand there with a pop-up at ISETAN THE SPACE, complete with a makeshift reception, bar, and bedroom. It's also the city where she imagines a physical Hotel Olympia would be.
"There'd be lots of embroidery and it would be really cozy. Like a cute little doll's house with some touches of sexiness, and naughtiness," is how she describes a real-life Hotel Olympia looking — which isn't far off the look she achieved with the pop-up that kicked things off.
That event was in February of this year, but her obsession with hotels was planted long before. She traces it back to childhood when her father worked as an illustrator for the Conde Nast Traveller. He only agreed to take the job if his family was allowed to join him on assignments, meaning that Le-Tan spent parts of her childhood walking the halls of some of the greatest hotels which the world has to offer.
"I remember exploring and, as a kid, it's so fun when it feels like you're in someone's house and your parents aren't really watching you because they're in their room. You can sneak out of your room at night and explore and steal things," Le-Tan says about that time. "It's the excitement of being in this mysterious, big house and all the naughty stuff you can do; then when you grow up, there's other naughty stuff you can do there."
Taking this excitement of being in a hotel and translating it into a line of home goods and fashion was a natural progression for the designer — it was a way to fill the gap that was left after she departed from her eponymous label in 2018.
She started that brand in the late 90s while an intern at Chanel, using scraps of fabric to create bags for herself and her friends. Eventually, she would bump into Sarah Andelman of the now-closed colette who immediately placed an order for them and from there it developed into a fully-fledged fashion line showing seasonal collections in Paris.
This new venture similarly did not begin with clothing but over time it has added tees and sweaters to its repertoire. Le-Tan started by making embroidered pillows, mirroring the signature embroidery which had put her namesake label on the map. This developed into also creating luggage tags, slippers, tea towels, ashtrays, and a range of other home goods.
For our collaboration, we're releasing two T-shirts featuring signature graphics from the brand. The first is a full English breakfast which was cooked up and photographed by Le-Tan to spell out "hotel" and the other is a pink cake with Hotel Olympia written on the top — a product of the baking obsession she developed in lockdown.
Check out the drop above, available to shop now as part of Not In Paris.