By  on February 7, 2007

BEVERLY HILLS — Versace has reason for a double celebration.

The company launched its renovated flagship here, unveiling a sleeker, more understated side of the decadent Versace style. In addition, creative director Donatella Versace will accept the Rodeo Drive Walk of Style award on Thursday night.

The 5,000-square-foot unit here was the first that the company overhauled from top to bottom.

"Everything is completely brand new, from the floors to the shelves to the ceiling," said Roberto Lorenzini, president and chief operating officer of Versace USA.

The black-and-white color scheme is accented with Italian crystal display units and glossy black terrazzo marble floors, juxtaposed with matte white walls and ceilings.

"This is a new concept defined by Milan," Lorenzini said. "For the U.S. market, the renovation is definitely an important step for us, because it's going to show what Versace is becoming.…The boutique is more sophisticated, elegant and modern."

The store maintains a Rodeo Drive address — 248 North Rodeo Drive — but is located in the open-air Two Rodeo shopping complex, which intersects the iconic shopping street. Tiffany & Co., Gianfranco Ferré, Badgley Mischka and Gucci Fine Jewelry are among Versace's neighbors in the center.

The revamp is part of a worldwide initiative to update all company stores that began in 2005 with the renovation of the company's Fifth Avenue boutique in New York. The boutiques in Milan, Brussels and London have been completed; the Beverly Hills store is the fifth to undergo renovation.

Handbags and accessories were relocated to the second floor from the first, displayed on built-in shelves of alternating black lacquered wood and white leather. The company's ready-to-wear collections moved from the first floor to the smaller, oval-shape second floor, accessible from a wide, winding staircase. "We dedicated the whole ground floor to the accessory business [because] it has shown amazing growth in the last year," Lorenzini said.

Prices for apparel in the Gianni Versace collection, the top tier under the Versace umbrella, range from $500 for a sweatshirt to more than $150,000 for gowns. Handbags range from about $2,000 to $7,000.

The company hopes the overhaul will generate double-digit sales growth. After renovations are finished on the six remaining U.S. units, "we may potentially be opening new retail stores," Lorenzini said.

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