MILAN — Versace's first store dedicated to jewelry and watches will open in Rome this week and marks the first step in the company's medium- to long-term strategy to open such stores around the world.
"Versace continues to express itself, constantly raising the bar of true luxury," said Giancarlo Di Risio, chief executive officer of the company. Di Risio said it was too early to discuss locations or provide a specific number of new points of sale, but said jewelry and watches are a project the company "very much believes in."
The boutique, located in Via Bocca di Leone, off the iconic Spanish Steps and on the corner of tony shopping street Via Condotti, sits next to the existing Versace apparel boutique and will open Wednesday. "Rome, with its strong local and international traffic, is strategically very interesting for us," said Di Risio. "We aim at strengthening our position in main capitals and markets globally."
The new store concept was designed by the company's in-house team and features seats from Versace's home collection and a Murano glass chandelier designed exclusively for the venue. "It's only logical to integrate our own designs and culture in our stores," said Di Risio.
Walls are padded with soft white leather panels that add intimacy and a homey feel to the jewel-box store, and the displays are lined with silk. The executive said upcoming Versace Jewellery stores will be modeled on this first unit.
Di Risio said the best-selling watch remains the ceramic DV One, in particular the diamond, numbered version, which retails at around 50,000 euros, or $75,000 at current exchange. The executive pointed to consumers' ongoing request for precious items, regardless of the price. "The more expensive they are, the better we sell them," he said.
A set of jewelry, named Elegance, was specifically designed for the Rome boutique, which stems from the collaboration between Versace and its licensee, Vertime. The latter, based in Switzerland, produces and distributes the brand's watches around the world, and is part of the Timex Group. "Vertime is focused on Versace alone," noted Di Risio. Last year, Vertime reported sales of 27 million Swiss francs, or $24 million. Di Risio said this year's sales are expected to grow to 36 million Swiss francs, or $32 million.On a different note, Di Risio confirmed that the company has tapped actor Patrick Dempsey for the upcoming men's ad campaign, and said the women's campaign will feature a model and not an actress or pop star. Madonna and Halle Berry have modeled for past Versace campaigns.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast