MOSCOW NIGHTS: Versace will kick off Moscow’s fashion week on Tuesday, presenting four shows throughout that evening — the men’s and women’s fall/winter 2003-04 and spring/summer 2004 collections. “We are happy and proud to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Moscow’s fashion week,” said Santo Versace, chief executive officer of the company, in a phone interview. Versace will show at the city’s Rossia Concert Hall, which accommodates 2,500 people. The 35 models will all be Russian. The event will be followed by a private dinner at the restaurant Biscuit, hosted by Santo Versace for 200 guests, including government members and local celebrities.

This story first appeared in the November 24, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

This is not the company’s first show in Russia. In February last year, Versace showed its spring collection at the Pushkin Museum.

“We are happy with our business in Russia, which now accounts for about 10 percent of our sales and is rapidly expanding,” Versace said. Last year, the company reported sales of $564.6 million. Versace was the first Italian luxury-goods house to set up a boutique in Russia, in 1994. Today there are three freestanding boutiques there — Versace stores in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, and a Versace Home Collection unit in Moscow. Versace is also carried in six multibrand boutiques in the country. “Moscow is unique and has enormous potential, but the importance of second-tier cities, such as Rostov and Krasnodar, is also growing,” Versace said, adding that Russians have a passion for “everything leather” and color, and are “especially taken by our Medusa logo.” In particular, Versace said, the Hyppodrome and Meandros watches and the biker bag are current bestsellers. — Luisa Zargani.

A SLOW MARCH: The luxury watch sector is still ticking slowly. The Swiss Watch Federation, or FHS, reported imports of Swiss watches fell 0.1 percent in October to $879.3 million, or 1.14 billion Swiss francs, from the year-earlier period. Through the first 10 months, sales dropped 4.5 percent versus a year ago. According to a research note from HSBC, October’s results seem to indicate “the worst is over for the watch segment. It continues to lag behind the rest of the luxury sector, notably leather goods and jewelry.” Recently, Richemont and Bulgari said they were less than bullish in their outlook for the holiday season. — Ranya Husami

NEW OUTFITS: Urban Outfitters will open its second London unit this month on Earlham Street in Covent Garden as part of a major European rollout. The 7,000-square-foot site, the retailer’s fourth unit in the U.K., opens this week. Next year, a third London store — spanning 30,000 square feet — will open on Oxford Street. In a statement, the company said that deals for two more U.K. units to open next year would be signed before Christmas. The Covent Garden store, designed by the British firm Pompeii AD, is housed in a former brewery. All of the original brickwork and beams have been restored. The store will sell men’s and women’s street wear labels including FrostFrench, Diesel Style Lab and Evisu, as well as an expanded Urban Outfitters line, including the Urban Renewal range, a vintage-inspired label. Other Urban Outfitter units are in Dublin, Glasgow and on High Street Kensington in London. — Nina Jones

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