From the time Elizabeth Hurley wore That Dress to make Versace a household name to J-Lo’s more recent Jungle Dress and pretty much everything Sir Elton John wears, this brand has been the elite of high fashion for years. Now, Milan’s most revered fashion brand is heading to a mid-level retailer near you.
H&M, the IKEA of fashion, will soon premier a new Versace collection online and in their retail stores. According to Donatella Versace:
The collection for H&M is the essence of Versace. We’ve brought back from the archives, as well as from more recent collections, some of the icons of Versace, such as the bright prints, the Greek key and daring cuts. I can’t wait to see how H&M’s wide audience will make these pieces their own.
It seems to have become a trend for high-end brands to sell their merchandise to the masses in mid-range retailers like Missoni in Target and Vera Wang in Kohl’s, which have proven successful in revenue gains, but I think the jury is still out on whether they’re reaching the aspirational affluent consumer or devaluing their brands, or a little bit of both. I have to wonder what kind of effect it will have on their boutique stores and Nordstrom racks.
It’s hard to say, but Versace has a game plan to protect the exclusivity of their seemingly untouchable brand:
- A star studded launch party with performances by fashion standouts Prince and Nicki Minaj (Lady Gaga was busy with Barney’s New York)
- A sexy website, on par with Versace’s high-end image, to preview the collection
- Very limited availability and only in select stores. Anticipate a line, and you may also want to read up on How to Shop this exclusive line.
The moral of the story? While there is always a risk in rolling out a high-end brand in a mainstream store, it can be done right. Even if your prices have to come down to reach the masses, you can make it work by maintaining a level of exclusivity in the shopping experience. And, no matter what, always always stay on brand.