Forever young

For the ambitious CEO of Versace, upholding the house's corseted, cupped and cinched aesthetics for the next generation is the secret to restoring a luxury empire. By May Yip

Published Fri, Oct 25, 2013 · 10:00 PM
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SPEAKING highly of one's boss may be customary practice for any employee, but Versace chief executive Gian Giacomo Ferraris's admiration for Donatella Versace borders on the effusive. "Working with Donatella Versace is a most rewarding experience," declares Mr Ferraris in his suite at the St Regis Hotel, when he was in town to grace the opening of the brand's 2,013 square feet boutique at Paragon. "She possesses not just incredible creative talent - imagine the amount of concentration required for creating our range of products - but has great managerial skills as well."

It would have been easy for Mr Ferraris, who was the former head of the Jil Sander Group and Gucci Group, to take personal credit for the brand's successes. After all, within a year of his appointment at Versace in 2009, he managed to increase revenue of the Versace group by 9 per cent. Saddled with debt after the death of founder Gianni Versace in 1997, followed by the global financial crisis in 2009, the group posted operating profits only in 2011.

And the secret to the group's success, besides much drier restructuring measures, lies in creative consistency. Picking up a printed throw cushion from the settee, Mr Ferraris explains: "Every line, every product had to be placed under the direction of Mrs Donatella to deliver the same emotion and DNA throughout the brand. From men's ready-to-wear to a cup, to a cushion, to a woman's accessory - everything has to be approved by Mrs Donatella."

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