Hedy Woodrow possesses the type of style, confidence and poise that can captivate a room. These are also the qualities that the senior vice president of retail for Wynn Resorts hopes to pass on to the 12,000 employees whose uniforms her team envisions from sketch to casino floor.
While Woodrow’s primary role is to curate the great treasures that can be found in the Esplanades at Wynn and Encore as well as manage their day-to-day operations, the uniform design and presentation process is one facet of her job of which she has grown quite fond, making use of her 26-year career in fashion, design, retail and manufacturing.
Wynn Resorts, as a hospitality company, is known for its extraordinary approach to just about everything, and that includes the meticulous detail that is put forth in designing its uniforms. When it recently came time for a company-wide refresh, Woodrow hit the ground to create functional work fashions that rival the runways.
“The overall goal is that our uniforms are very consistent from property to property. So what you’re going to see at Wazuzu in Wynn Palace in Macau is the same as here, and the same with our Boston property.”
The starting point is the design of the space where the employee will be working. Woodrow then collaborates with Roger Thomas, executive vice president of design for Wynn Design & Development, on color palettes. Inspiration comes in all forms, including her own clothing or the closet of Andrea Wynn, who is deeply involved in this process. “I will meet with Andrea and sit down with her. [Sometimes] she will actually bring one of her suits out of the closet for inspiration, and then it evolves.”
Once the concept is formed, Woodrow will have the design sketched. From there, adjustments are made until the final rendering is exactly how the uniform will look. Woodrow then sends it off to Gaebriella Wilkins and her team in Macau at Wynn’s uniform sample room, where they will begin to develop pieces for review. “She can really take whatever [we] produce and turn it into a uniform,” Woodrow says.
To make sure everyone is on the same page, every Thursday night the team collaborates over video conference. “They will show me on a mannequin exactly what the uniforms look like,” Woodrow says. “I’ll have a nip and tuck. We put it on a live model as well, so I can see what the proportions are. And then we’ll go through the process of fitting.” And while the players don’t have to, the uniforms frequently travel back and forth from China during the design phase so Woodrow can check on the fabrication.
During the part of the process called “the showing,” the uniforms are presented to company executives including Thomas and Wynn President Maurice Wooden, and Andrea and Steve Wynn. Woodrow uses employees as models and sets up a backdrop that reflects the design of the space where the uniform will live so everyone can see the pieces in action.
“I’ll bring in a makeup artist and we have their hair professionally done, so they feel beautiful before they even get their uniform on,” Woodrow says. “I’ll usually have two stylists assisting so everything is [perfect], just like a fashion show. So you’ll have the hostess flanked by the server and the busser. At the very end, Mr. Wynn always asks questions: ‘How do you feel?’ ‘Do you like it?’ Would you wear this?’”
It’s this focus on the employee that aligns with Woodrow’s own business philosophy and career path. After getting her start in management at Casual Corner, she took on roles at Victoria’s Secret and Sunglass Hut. But it was her time at St. John Knits that has had the most impact on her career. With no prior experience in luxury ready-to-wear, Woodrow rose to the position of vice president of retail within 18 months—then later senior VP of retail—because of her keen eye and operational forte. She then went on to design and manufacture her own line of luxury pet products sold by Neiman Marcus Direct and other specialty retailers. In 2010, she arrived in Las Vegas to take care of her ailing father and accepted the position of executive director of merchandise for Wynn.
“As Mr. Wynn always says, we can have a beautiful building, we can have great fabrics and marble and all of that, but it really boils down to having great people,” she says.