ON TIME: Versace and Timex unveiled the first fruits of their nascent collaboration at the Basel Watch Fair on Thursday, saying they expect to have sales of 15 million Swiss francs, or $17.9 million, this year. At a news conference, Timex president Joe Santana and Santo Versace said they would double sales in 2006 and generate at least 40 million Swiss francs, or $47.8 million, in sales by 2007. The duo also revealed the collaboration’s name — Vertime — and said 75 percent of sales this year would come from watches, with jewelry contributing 20 percent and lighting instruments kicking in 5 percent. They said Paolo Marani would start as president of the Manno, Switzerland-based operation on Monday. Versace said Timex “brings us the tools and technical skills to make this a multimillion-dollar business,” while Santana said the Versace venture “is an opportunity to build a luxury segment in the group.” Though he said Timex would concentrate on its collaboration with Versace for the moment, he said the company was interested in pursuing other upmarket collaborations. Timex and Versace in January cemented a 17-year licensing agreement. Meanwhile, at a cocktail party later, Donatella Versace wore a white ceramic diamond-encrusted watch. “It’s a masculine style watch for strong women,” she said.
NEW SHOES: Alix de Chabot, managing director of Calvin Klein Europe, is headed to fast-growing Roger Vivier, the footwear firm owned by Diego Della Valle, WWD has learned. De Chabot is slated to join Vivier as a senior consultant for strategy and public relations in France. Before joining Klein in 1997, de Chabot worked in Ralph Lauren’s European press office.
DRINKING IT IN: Lulu Guinness and her chic and cheeky handbags attract a more diverse crowd than one would think. At Wednesday’s party honoring her exhibition of collectible handbags at Sotheby’s were the usual industry folk, plus a few teenagers, former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, some Brits from London, model Anouck Lepere and even downtown designers Alice Roi and Behnaz Sarafpour (both friends and fans of Guinness’). During the live auction that benefited the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation, one perfume and two bags raised roughly $1,000 each and a one-of-a-kind Going, Going, Gone bag brought in $2,000. Guinness herself, wearing red in contrast to the black-and-white dress code, was surprised and pleased with the turnout. “It’s extremely overwhelming,” she said.