Mary Beth West has been on the retailer’s board for 10 years.
The designer sells to web shoppers in Europe before coming to the U.S.
The world of fashion e-retail received a major splash of glamour last week, as high-end apparel retailer Versace made its first foray into e-commerce by putting its full range of products online Sept. 19.
Visitors to Versace.com who click Shop Online are asked to choose among four countries where the fashion designer now sells online: the U.K., France, Italy and Germany. Versace says it will roll out new sub-sites Oct. 17 to sell to consumers in the U.S., Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain and Austria.
“There is growing excitement around the Versace brand, and we can’t open stores fast enough," says Versace chief executive Gian Giacomo Ferraris.
Which is why, he says, the company has ambitious Internet rollout plans for Versace, intending to make its products accessible to most of the world’s online shoppers in the next 12 to 18 months.
Each of the national e-commerce sites accessible through Versace.com sells the full Versace product line-up, including clothing, accessories, shoes and the new Young Versace collection for children and infants. The Versace Home Collection, including tableware, cushions, glass and crystal, is also available.
The Versace shopping sites under Versace.com, which are now offered in German, French, English and Italian, reflect the company's take on luxury, with apparel draped on gold mannequins and a distinctive site design.
The company says the inspiration for the web site design comes from Jamie Fobert's architectural concept for the Versace flagship stores, which will be unveiled with the opening of a new boutique in the SoHo section of New York City this October.
Key features on Versace.com drawn from the architect's concept include a mosaic background pattern, which is also used on the shop floors, and graphic elements that are incorporated into the bricks-and-mortar stores, such as circles, squares and bold colors.
Each national version of the Versace.com site also includes a Donatella’s Hot Picks section, where visitors can view creative director Donatella Versace's fashion choices. There is also an area called My Versace, where shoppers can create their own fashion collections based on occasions such as red carpet events, first dates, shopping excursions and business meetings, as well as weekend getaways. Those features make the site more engaging for the consumer, the company says.
Versace says it is managing the merchandising and marketing of the e-commerce sites in-house so that it can maintain control of its online image and sales strategy. However, e-commerce vendor Netrada which works with many luxury brands, is handling the e-commerce platform, logistics, order fulfillment and other operational aspects of Versace.com.
The launch of the Versace e-commerce sites marks the first step in the retailer’s plans for selling online, Versace says, with a mobile site and mobile apps planned for launch in the near future.
Netrada is headquartered in Garbsen, Germany. Versace is based in Milan.