LONDON — After paying tribute to Gianni Versace’s legacy with a high-energy spring 2018 show in September, Donatella Versace has kept the celebratory spirit alive — and brought it to London.
On Monday night, she accepted the Fashion Icon prize at the Fashion Awards here and the following day she marked the opening of the new Versace boutique on Sloane Street.
The store is located a few yards away from the previous one, and Versace made the move in order to secure a bigger space.
“London means a lot to me, all the young, creative talent is here who I try to work a lot with,” said Versace at the boutique’s opening party, where she was joined by one of those young talents, Christopher Kane, who used to design the Versus line. Other guests included models Natasha Poly and Irina Shayk. “I wanted a bigger space, and I’m particularly proud of this store because of the sustainability approach we are taking.”
Versace said the store will not only save energy and water, but it will also reduce waste and support human health. “Nowadays, if you don’t think differently, if you don’t respect the planet, then you cannot move forward. We aim to be the first in everything we do, we will be the first also in this,” added the designer, pointing to a wider retail project that will see new and refurbished Versace boutiques take a more sustainable approach to interior design to ensure the brand reduces waste.
The store will be the first on Sloane Street to receive a LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, certification.
To mark the launch, the store was transformed into an exhibition space displaying last season’s tribute collection alongside never-before-seen backstage photography and Versace campaigns from the Nineties by photographer Doug Ordway.
Ordway, who had worked closely with Gianni Versace at the time, revisited his archive and handpicked images that captured the spirit of the age. Candid black-and-white portraits of Linda Evangelista and Cindy Crawford hang alongside backstage shots and playful images of the supermodels dancing on couches at Donatella Versace’s suite at the Ritz in Paris.
“We were just so spontaneous at the time. Gianni would just take me backstage and tell me ‘Go anywhere you like and take pictures.’ Or we would be hanging out at Donatella’s room at the Ritz, the girls would start dancing and I happened to be around with my camera to capture the moment, it wasn’t planned,” said Ordway.
He pointed to a series of images from 1993 featuring Christy Turlington wearing a printed Versace one-piece bathing suit on South Beach in Miami. “Those were shot right after a hurricane, so everything was deserted. François Nars was doing the makeup and we just decided on the spot to have her covered in glitter.”
Spanning 6,028 square feet over three floors, the space features a new, more modern aesthetic. Walls are covered in Fior di Bosco marble, while screens streaming snippets from the runway feature on the staircase. Brass and onyx details maintain the sense of glamour for which the brand is best known.
The full men’s, women’s and accessories collections are stocked in the boutique alongside a small homeware section and a space for private fittings.
Versace added that she wanted to maintain the store’s original facade as a link between its Italian-inspired interiors and London. “I created this new boutique not only as a connection between London’s architectural heritage and Milan’s cultural history, but also as a dialogue between the legacy and the future of Versace. I wanted the space to be a link between the world of Versace and our customers, creating a welcoming yet glamorous atmosphere.”