MILAN — In line with its focus on cost-cutting, Versace said Thursday that it has put the family’s town house in New York up for sale and has appointed Laura Manelli as director of worldwide retail.
Although the company did not release an official comment, or the value of the estate, a source close to Versace said the New York town house is “a home too large for the amount of time the family used it and it is part of the company’s noncore assets.”
Versace has been trimming costs across the board in recent months as it aims to reverse its 2003 loss. It also has been strengthening its management and, in addition to Manelli, tapped Francesca Leoni as manager of store planning. Both Manelli and Leoni previously worked at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Nunzio Palamara, who worked at Versace for 25 years, will be in charge of expanding the Atelier business. This is a new position and Palamara will be responsible for developing relationships with VIP customers and celebrities.
These appointments follow that of Susan Nappe last month as executive vice president, wholesale, of Versace’s U.S. wholesale operating arm, and that of Gabriella Di Carlo this summer as the company’s worldwide commercial director.
In a separate development, Versace is staging its retrospective, “The Art and Craft of Gianni Versace,” at the Design Museum in Helsinki starting today until Jan. 16. It is the same retrospective that was held in London at the Victoria and Albert Museum in fall 2002 but, in addition to 130 runway designs and theater costumes and sketches by the late designer and his sister, Donatella, it will be expanded with pieces from the company’s home collection, making it the largest exhibition dedicated to the house.
“Versace is focusing a great deal on emerging markets in northern Europe,” said a company spokesman. “Based on the strength of business in Russia, the opportunity in northern Europe is tremendous.”
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