NEW YORK — Gianni Versace said he’s fed up with knockoffs of his collection — and he’s doing something about it.

Versace told WWD Monday he plans to premiere his spring 1995 signature ready-to-wear collection during the New York shows this fall, rather than in Milan.

“I decided on this day I don’t want merchandise in the store as soon as I show,” he said in a phone interview from South Beach, Miami. “I would rather wait to show my collection to a time closer to when it will reach the stores. I am negotiating now with people in New York for a time. I would like to either open or close the shows.”

Versace said he will continue to show his Versus and Istante collections in Milan and couture collection in Paris. But he was moved to change the date of his signature collection, he said, because he was outraged by the quickness with which knockoffs of his spring “Miami Collection” appeared in stores this winter. The Miami Collection featured giant safety pins on short dresses and skirts.

Discussing the issue of knockoffs, Versace said he finds it “cheap and disgraceful” that retailers attend fashion shows and, immediately afterward, send photos or descriptions of designs to other firms to have them knocked off.

“There are some retailers who need an education on this,” he added. “We are discussing this. There are buyers in our audience now who will be cut off. There will be a lot of changes.”

Versace sighed that he is often initially infuriated by copies of his designs, but sometimes softens his stance because “it’s a high form of flattery.”

“They can copy, but they will never make clothes of my quality,” he added. “It’s like hanging a cheap copy of a Picasso on the wall.”

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