Yesterday afternoon we were treated to a preview of the newest Versace space in Soho, but this wasn't your run-of-the-mill walkthrough: the legendary Donatella Versace led the tour, along with Christopher Kane, designer of Versace's diffusion line Versus, and the store's architect, Jamie Fobert. The interior is a perfect marriage of the past and the future of the house of Versace, with Ancient Rome-inspired mosaic floors that pay homage to Gianni, and ultra-modern plexiglass and gold panels lining the walls.
The feel of the Soho store is decidedly different than Versace's uptown digs, as is the merchandise. "The buy is specific for a downtown customer," Kane told us, and Donatella agreed. "It was difficult to keep the relation between the uptown and downtown stores—the same types of people don't shop there," she explained. The Mercer Street location has a well-edited selection of Versace ready-to-wear and accessories, along with a small collection of in-store exclusives at accessible price points that will be designed in collaboration with a rotation of different designers. The store's first curator is Kane, who created limited-edition t-shirts, stationary, iPhone cases, headphones, and even a board game—an update on Chutes and Ladders called Medusa and Greca.
When asked what a first-time visitor shouldn't leave the new store without, Kane suggested one of the supremely soft t-shirts that he designed using archived Richard Avedon from past Versace campaigns. "Everyone recognizes those images, they're so iconic," he said. "I see Versace in everything—there are so many copycats." While Kane notes that there are plenty of simple pieces in the Soho store to pick from, Donatella—in true Versace fashion—advises that you don't leave without a flashy souvenir. "Buy everything," she exclaimed between self-depricating jokes ("What's my beauty secret? I sleep in the freezer!"). That might seem a little impractical, but in the words of the woman herself, "What's wrong with a little excess?"
The new Versace Soho store is located at 160 Mercer Street.