The brand, which has already rolled out versions of private jets, yachts and sports cars, is moving into yet another facet of luxury transportation: helicopters.
Versace just inked a deal with the Italian group Agusta Westland to collaborate on the design and manufacturing of made-to-order Versace branded helicopters. A prototype will be unveiled here during the furniture and design fair Salone del Mobile in April.
“We want to associate our name with excellence,” Versace chief executive officer Giancarlo Di Risio told WWD. Drawing upon the spirit of founder Gianni Versace’s bon vivant lifestyle, the company is looking to link itself with exclusive, limited-edition products rather than push volume, he explained. “Luxury is not about 200 euro [$260] handbags,” he said.
Agusta Westland will pay Versace to furnish each helicopter ordered, a Versace spokesman said. Agusta makes choppers for a variety of outlets, military and civilian, including the NYPD and the U.S. Coast Guard.
The agreement mirrors that of Versace’s deals with Techniques d’Avant Gard to design and personalize private jets and with Lamborghini for cars. The super rich can also approach Versace to personalize their yachts. All of these products share similar design characteristics like white leather interiors and Versace’s hallmark frieze motif trim.
“People who have money are increasingly seeking out more exclusive things,” Di Risio said. Versace and Agusta declined to disclose a minimum price tag for the helicopters. “It costs so much that we are not even saying how much,” Di Risio said.
Di Risio said two customers, one from the United States and another from Hong Kong, have already ordered Versace private jets, while an Irish national has placed an order for a customized yacht. The executive boasted that 20 of the limited edition Versace Lamborghinis were sold in a week, more than half of them to Americans. The cars fetched upwards of 500,000 euros, or about $660,000 at current exchange rates.
Versace is due to release its full-year 2006 numbers in March and Di Risio said sales will be higher than originally expected.
He reiterated the company is in good financial health and on track for a possible stock market listing, should owners Allegra Versace Beck, Santo Versace and Beck’s mother Donatella Versace decide to pursue that route. Meanwhile, Versace is preparing to launch a new women’s fragrance this spring and a men’s version early next year. The company is also planning an event later this year to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Gianni Versace’s death.
On the more imminent front, Donatella Versace has designed two wedding gowns for Elizabeth Hurley, one for her wedding in England this weekend and another for a subsequent Hindu ceremony in India. The company is keeping sketches of the gowns under wraps.
For complete coverage see tomorrow's issue of WWD.
Donatella Versace will receive the International Award at the 2018 @cfda awards, which were announced tonight. Tap link in bio for a list of all the nominees and honorees. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @rahirezvanistudio )
The 2018 @cfda Awards nominees are out! @virgilabloh for @off____white for is nominated for Womenswear Designer of the Year. Tap link in bio for all the nominees. #wwdnews #wwdfashion ( 📷: @simonelezzi)
@chanelofficial is suing high-end vintage retailer @whatgoesaroundnyc for trademark infringement, a move that could cost the retailer millions. The French fashion house claims that it’s not only unintentionally sold counterfeit goods on occasion, but that it’s “gone out of its way to create an association with Chanel,” which does not exist. Read Chanel’s statement on WWD.com #wwdnews (@aitorrosasphoto)
Exclusive: Guillaume Henry has left @ninaricci, the fashion house said on Thursday. “After three years of mutually gratifying creative collaboration, Nina Ricci and Guillaume Henry have together decided that the designer will depart the house after the presentation of the fall-winter 2018-19 collection,” Ricci said in a statement. Get all the details on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
“When Bella enters a room all heads turn,” said @peterphilipsmakeup, creative and image director for @diormakeup. Last night, the two celebrated the product launch of Dior’s Lacquer Plump in Los Angeles with other celebs like @parisjackson, @winnieharlow and more. Head to WWD.com to see the rest of the photos from the night (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
“These shirts are an art form, it’s about getting the message out to as many people as you can. It breaks down the pretentiousness of the art gallery,” says Kumasi Sadiki, cofounder of @ebayontheblock, a store that sells merchandise by New York artists who are shifting their attention to clothes as a wearable medium. Pictured here is a design by artist @joegarvey_, one of the first to spearhead this movement. Head to WWD.com to read @mistywhitesidell full story on how their designs have become merch for the underground elite #wwdfashion
@netaporter is dedicating a part of its website – called the Fine Jewelry and Watch Destination – to highlight its high-end jewelry. The hub will feature products on the site, as well as incorporate styling advice and educational content about high-priced jewelry items. Get more details on WWD.com. #wwdaccessories
For “The Cher Show,” an upcoming musical based on @cher’s life and career, @bobmackie is once again collaborating with the singer in designing the costumes. For decades, Mackie has designed glitzy stage costumes and red carpet looks for the 71-year-old Grammy winner. Pictured here is a sketch of some of the pieces in the wardrobe of the musical, which is set to debut in Chicago on June 12 before making its way to Broadway #wwdeye