Michael Kors’s first power move as a conglomerate-in-the-making, entitled Capri Holdings, was to purchase Versace. Upon the announcement of the US$2.1 billion acquisition on September 25, Capri Holdings pledged to build on Versace’s runway momentum, to expand accessories and footwear from 35% to 60% of brand revenues, to push its e-commerce platforms and omni-channels, and to create 100 new stores across US, European and Asian markets. Its first actual business decision – to integrate Versace’s diffusion line, Versus, with the house’s other contemporary line, Versace Jeans – was not initially outlined.
The news came from chief executive officer Jonathan Akeroyd, who told WWD on October 31 that the company had been looking at ways to simplify the Versace business model over the past months. “This merger will allow us to further develop the Versace Jeans collections and at the same time not to lose the DNA and codes that made Versus so iconic,” Akeroyd said.
Creative director Donatella Versace, who vehemently declared that her “passion has never been stronger” upon the acquisition, will take the helm of both lines. The company will revisit the licensing of the Versace Jeans line, which currently belongs to Swinger International.
If Versace fans were concerned that brand dilution was inevitable after the business deal, the union of the sub-divisions could be seen as the first red flag. Versus was conceived in 1989 as a gift from Gianni Versace to his sister, Donatella. And, although the brand went on a a four-year hiatus from 2005 to 2009, since then it has become a platform for Versace to work with other creatives and inject youthful spirit into the brand. Collaborators have included Christopher Kane, JW Anderson, Anthony Vaccarello and MIA, but Donatella Versace herself has always remained present, offering her temporary colleagues insight into how archival looks could be remixed in artful – and affordable – ways.
After the Versus Spring 2018 show – Fall 2018, in contrast, was presented to press as a lookbook – which drew on 90s Versus looks, Versace told Vogue: “You need to be yourself. If you believe in yourself that’s all you need in life – and that’s all I have to say about this.” Here’s hoping that her inspirational words hold true in the coming months as more changes between parent company and brand emerge.
This article first appeared on Vogue.co.uk