STAR TREATMENT FOR VERSACE AT SAKS

Byline: Jenny B. Fine

NEW YORK — Saks Fifth Avenue had a very Versace week.
A two-day trunk show by the designer resulted in more than $100,000 in ready-to-wear sales, according to industry sources. Gianni Versace and his sister Donatella drew more than 300 onlookers to their one-hour store appearance Friday to promote their new fragrance, Versace’s Blonde.
Reportedly, in the five-day period from its launch last Sunday through last Thursday, Blonde has raked in more than $170,000 in Saks’ 45 doors nationwide, about 40 percent over initial projections.
Neither Saks officials nor company executives would discuss the reported figures. But sources said the results were above store expectations. The two-day rtw results were about $40,000 more than expected, sources said.
Blonde reportedly has ranked number one since its debut Sunday.
Versace seemed startled by the 12:30 p.m. turnout Friday.
“To have so many people here and to see so much love around you, it’s incredible,” he said, after hearing applause as he entered the store and made his way through the crowd. “The crowd, old and young, chic and showy — this is very Nineties.”
One shopper, Cathy Jandrue, flew in from Boston and waited in line for 45 minutes to meet the designer, because, as she said, “I’m a designer also and I wanted his autograph.”
The Saks flagship, including the windows, was decked out in everything Versace. A giant crystal medallion featuring the designer’s signature Medusa motif revolved on a pedestal in the middle of the cosmetics department, 35 models sprayed more than 100 bottles of Blonde on shoppers, Versace’s coffee-table books were stacked on tables on the main floor and every floor in the store featured a Blonde outpost.
“It’s a wonderfully opportunistic time to launch this fragrance,” said Steve Bock, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of cosmetics, fragrance and designer clothes at Saks. “We tied the Versace franchises in together, and all of the businesses are represented.”

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