Versace Bets Future on New Signature Pattern to Revive Brand

Versace will debut a new pattern for clothes, handbags and other products next month that executives believe can singlehandedly rejuvenate the label as the luxury market looks to recover from a pandemic-fuelled decline.

Designer Donatella Versace has developed a “unique signature pattern” that will be unveiled at her upcoming fashion show in Milan, executives said Wednesday. When the as-yet unseen design arrives at retailers in the fall, the brand plans to pump money into a major marketing campaign around the style.

“I believe that’s going to change the trajectory of the company significantly over the next 24 months,” John Idol, chief executive officer of parent company Capri Holdings Ltd., said on a conference call with analysts after reporting third-quarter earnings.

Signature patterns can define high-end brands — think Burberry’s tartan or Gucci’s red and green stripes — and have a direct impact on sales. Versace has been trying to find a new hit design to follow the Barocco V, a logo that it has replicated across clothes, handbags, shoes, belts and jewellery.

Idol said executives are building a “more stable base” for Versace that it didn’t have prior to its $2.1 billion acquisition of the Italian label in 2018, by selling more accessories and footwear to improve operating margins. The aesthetic will still be based on runway looks and Donatella Versace’s creative concepts, he said.

“As we build out a base for this company, which the company really over its history hasn’t had compared to our luxury peers, that will improve the profitability dramatically for Versace,” the CEO said. Versace’s revenue was flat last quarter, outperforming its sister brands Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo, which both posted large declines.

Shares of Capri jumped as much as 7.6% Wednesday in New York, the biggest intraday gain since Nov. 17.

By Kim Bhasin.

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