Versace, Hirshleifer’s Team up at Americana

Versace in-store boutique opens at upscale specialty store.

A view of Versace’s in-store women’s boutique at Hirshleifer’s.

At Versace, looking east doesn’t always mean Russia.

This story first appeared in the September 18, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Tonight, the Italian fashion house will celebrate the opening of an in-store shop at Hirshleifer’s in the Americana Mall in Manhasset, N.Y., on Long Island.

The 800-square-foot shop, operated by Hirshleifer’s, offers women’s ready-to-wear, eveningwear, handbags and shoes. While the shop has its own entrance and street-side facade, its interior is connected to Hirshleifer’s Dolce & Gabbana, Jimmy Choo and J.Mendel shops.

The shop had a soft opening on Sept. 1.

“Over the past few seasons, our strategic goal at Versace has been to focus on building a strong base of quality distribution,” said Patrick Guadagno, president and chief operating officer of wholesale at Versace USA. “It means identifying the most important retailer in a specific trading area who shares the same vision that we do. On Long Island, Hirshleifer’s clearly fits that profile.”

The new shop represents the latest generation of retail fixturing for the brand, including features such as white-panel leather walls, indirectly lit chrome accessories cases and black glass and leather tables.

“We had sold Versace many years ago,” said Lori Hirshleifer, vice president at Hirshleifer’s. “I always loved it, but it was a different collection back then. Since then, there is a new management and it’s taken on a new life. It’s become much more of a whole lifestyle collection. Whereas it was mostly evening and red carpet before, you can now dress in Versace from head to toe.”

Versace replaced a space that formerly housed a Jil Sander shop. Hirshleifer’s continues to sell Jil Sander.

“We just felt it is Versace’s time again,” Hirshleifer said.

In addition to rtw, the shop will offer the limited edition Couture line of handbags, priced from about $2,500 to $5,000.

“Versace fits in beautifully,” Hirshleifer said. “Our client is always looking for dresses and special pieces.”

Katie Lee Joel and Gretta Monahan will co-host tonight’s event that Versace and Hirshleifer are holding in conjunction with Vogue and Project ALS. The party will benefit Project ALS, which is devoted to finding a treatment and cure to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.