The shock happened 20 years ago. A genius, a designer ahead of his time, Gianni Versace, got killed during his vacations in Miami on July 15, 1997 and last week, Donatella decided to create a whole collection in tribute to her brother and to his work back in the 1990s. It was a very touching show with a lot of emotion put into it. The soundtrack featured some beautiful words for Gianni which really gave us shivers all along the show.
But let’s not be fooled by this whole communication strategy. This event came on point when the brand had to push its sales forward after a period of relative slump. Indeed the 2016 financial year saw a 4% increase from €645 million in 2015 to €669 million in 2016 when the annual growth for the previous financial year from 2014 to 2015 accounted for about 9%, according to the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore; a deceleration that is clearly impacting the brand’s decision to focus on its core values and style. So let’s not be misled. Versace as a business uses this historical event as a potential tool to increase its brand awareness, which already is one of the highest among fashion houses. Versace chief executive Jonathan Akeyrod (who was appointed on June 6, 2016) esteems that the brand awareness is actually much higher than the expected sales. So work needs to be done, and this comes through solid marketing and communication strategies which would allow a rebalance between the expectations and the reality.
In terms of style, this show was 100% Versace. It focused on the main assets of Gianni’s style: squared shoulders with high and thin waist which build a reverse triangle shape, typical of the 90s. Also, the typical golden Barocco print alongside with bright colorful modern art like patterns were key elements in this collection. The other main focus: absolute femininity that was so dear to Gianni and which Donatella prolonged in her following collections. We need to keep track of the following communication spin-off on social networks and on the press. It already is very much positive thanks to the catwalk finale featuring fiveof the 90s supermodels and Gianni’s favorites, Carla Bruni, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen and Cindy Crawford. This was the main focus in fashion publications, Facebook was irradiated with captions of the five divas and it allowed a boom on Instagram for the following 24 hours.
This event came on point when the brand had to push its sales forward after a period of relative slump.
All will certainly recall this show which could become legendary for the House of Versace as it features all the central codes of the brand. It will be no surprise if it contributes to positive figures to close this financial year through successful sales in stores and on the web.