MILAN — Versace plans to invest about 45 million euros, or almost $70 million, to open 11 stores this year, mainly in Asia, further tapping a market it hopes will replace the U.S. as its second largest in terms of sales after Europe.
In an interview at the Italian fashion group's atelier on Via Jesu on Thursday, Versace chief executive Giancarlo Di Risio said the decision to add almost two square miles of retail space was based on the premise that the wider the net in the right waters, the wider the return.
"It responds to the logic of market penetration," Di Risio said. "Asia has more consumers, above all with respect to luxury, and is growing in an exponential manner....We are thinking of growth."
Di Risio declined to give financial forecasts for the year. But citing sales of 310.6 million euros, or $425.8 million at average exchange, in 2007, and debt at 20 percent of turnover, the ceo said now was the right time to invest in expansion despite the economic uncertainty — and without recourse to the markets.
"Versace doesn't need to list at the moment," Di Risio said. "We finance ourselves through regular lines of credit."
The first of the new boutique opens today in the Papillon Mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with a second to follow in that city later this year. The other units are planned for Macau and two each in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and Europe. Versace's global store count stood at 71 at the end of last year.
Di Risio said one of the boutiques in Hong Kong would be a 5,400-square-foot, two-level flagship on Canton Road, while another in Europe would be Versace's first unit in Milan devoted exclusively to the brand's home collection. All the stores will follow Versace's latest black-and-white design scheme.
Notwithstanding the drive to build new and long-lasting relationships with consumers in Asia, Di Risio said America remained important to Versace.
"The United States still represents for us a market where there is large growth, aside from the effects of the dollar, oil prices or the economy," he said. "We have yet to express ourselves and grow to our potential [there]."To wit, Donatella Versace will attend an exclusive launch of men's wear at Barneys New York on Wednesday.
Di Risio also said the company plans to consolidate its accessories business at 40 percent of sales, with a focus on watches and jewelry. "This will definitely be one of the segments that we start to push and grow in a very intense manner from 2008," Di Risio said.
He added Versace would open a second stand-alone watch store — the first opened in Rome last year — in Dubai at the beginning of 2009, and that the company was assessing stand-alone jewelry formats, taking a lead from Italian rival Gucci.
Versace also is charting other luxury waters — or skies. After signing an agreement with helicopter maker AgustaWestland last year, Di Risio said the first two Agusta-Versace choppers were ready for handing over to their European buyers. He added the fashion house had almost finished an Airbus 380 airplane and was planning other "residential" luxury projects.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)