Versace to relaunch "accessible" luxury line Versus

MILAN Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:55pm GMT

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MILAN (Reuters Life!) - Italian designer group Versace is to relaunch its second line Versus in a new deal covering both men's and womenswear, expanding its usually expensive celebrity-favourite designs to a wider clientele.

Versace said in a statement it had signed a deal with Italian company Gruppo Facchini, which operates in clothing, hotels and contemporary art, and will start with a clothing and accessories collection for Spring/Summer 2010.

It is expecting turnover of more than 700 million euros (619 million pounds) in the first five years. A new company, VSV, will be created and Gruppo Facchini's Mathias Facchini will be chief executive.

While its Versace line is a red carpet favourite among celebrities and its glamorous gowns cost thousands of euros, the group's Versus line aims to offer luxury that is more "aspirational, more accessible," CEO Giancarlo Di Risio told Reuters.

"These are two very different brands ... Versace is a brand that represents the high end of luxury," Di Risio said.

"Wanting (Versace) to remain at this level, we thought of Versus as offering ... more man on the street prices and offers ... to cover a different audience."

"It is a market that we do not have," he added.

In January, Di Risio was quoted saying Versace's core customer did not queue for bargains at post-Christmas sales in Italy's fashion capital, but was "on the slopes in St Moritz or on a boat on the Caribbean."

Di Risio said Versus would open 20 boutiques by 2011 all over the world.

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

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