MILAN — After almost 30 years and different iterations, the Versus line will be integrated into Versace Jeans, WWD has learned.
This is one of the first steps following the sale of the company to Michael Kors Holdings last month and signals an increased focus on luxury and the signature line.
“Over the past few months, we have been looking at ways as to how we can simplify our business model and enable us to give a better focus and energy into our brand portfolio to ensure that we continue to be innovative and relevant in everything that we do,” said chief executive officer Jonathan Akeroyd. “We have decided that we will now integrate our two contemporary collections into one by merging Versus and Versace Jeans. This merger will allow us to further develop the Versace Jeans collections and at the same time not to lose the DNA and codes that made Versus so iconic.”
The company is revisiting the Versace Jeans line, which is licensed to Swinger International and which is expected to be presented in its renovated form in November.
Creative director Donatella Versace will be in charge of both collections.
Swinger International is owned by the Facchini family and is helmed by Mathias Facchini. This is a return for Versus to the group as the line was previously licensed to the Veneto, Italy-based manufacturer until former ceo Gian Giacomo Ferraris brought production in-house. Swinger International also controls the Genny brand.
Versus was first launched in 1989, gifted by Gianni Versace to his sister. In 2005, the brand went on a four-year hiatus, returning in the fall of 2009. Since the fall 2010 season, Versace teamed with Scottish designer Christopher Kane, who added a youthful, edgy and underground vibe.
In 2012, Donatella Versace and Ferraris forged a new path for Versus without Kane. The younger brand was repositioned as a seasonless line with a strong digital element that was to be designed by Donatella Versace in collaboration with a number of young designers, stylists and creative talents. Together they were meant to develop capsule collections, co-branding projects and limited editions under the Versus moniker. Versus has shown in both London and New York.
These included British designer Jonathan William Anderson, aka J.W. Anderson, and English-Sri Lankan recording artist M.I.A. In December 2013, Versus linked with Anthony Vaccarello, who was then appointed creative director of the brand in 2015. Vaccarello left a year later to helm Saint Laurent.
As reported, Versace Collection is being phased out at the end of the year.