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Image: Versace

“Versace will debut a new pattern for clothes, handbags and other products” at its upcoming fashion show in March, one that “executives believe can singlehandedly rejuvenate the Capri Holdings-owned label as the luxury market looks to recover from a pandemic-fueled decline,” Bloomberg reported in February, citing Capri CEO John Idol, who stated on a Q3 earnings call that the new foundational pattern is expected “to change the trajectory of the company significantly over the next 24 months.”

Mr. Idol revealed that creative director “Donatella Versace’s design vision and her marketing prowess are working exactly the way that we had envisioned when we acquired the company” in 2018 for $2.1 billion. However, the Gianni Versace-founded brand is seemingly still in need of – and in the process of building out – a solid “base,” according to the group’s CEO, to bolster its “portfolio of recognizable, iconic products.”

Enter: Versace’s “contemporary rework of our iconic Greca motif,” which the brand says was “reinvented for Fall-Winter 2021” – and revealed on March 5 – “as a dynamic and immersive 3D maze that feels like you can step right into it.” Featuring the “Greek Key along with the Versace logo in various sizes and color combinations,” Versace revealed that the new “geometric pattern has sharp angles, clean lines and a strong palette that represents power and self-confidence.”

A successful rollout of the proprietary new print “will improve the profitability dramatically for Versace,” Idol asserted on the Q3 conference call, noting that such critical source-identifying assets are something that Versace has been missing “compared to our luxury peers,” such as powerhouses like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, and Prada, which have robust arsenals of thoroughly-monetizable (and legally-protected) branding elements as their disposal. 

images via Versace

Versace has, of course, not been without such assets. As the company’s former worldwide head of marketing Lorenzo Conti stated in a 2018 deposition in a Versace trademark case, “For nearly four decades, Versace has marketed its products under the Versace name using a family of distinctive trademarks,” its Barocco pattern included, which he said he enabled Versace to “build a luxury brand that is widely recognized worldwide for glamorous and provocative designs, the finest quality and craftsmanship, and exclusivity.” 
 
But while the Versace name and its black-and-gold Barocco print have helped to create brand awareness and sales for Versace for decades, Versace has routinely ranked lower than its high fashion/luxury peers in recent years when it comes to “brand value” – or what London-based business valuation consultancy Brand Finance defines as “the value of the names, terms, signs, symbols, logos, and designs” that a company uses to identify and distinguish its “goods, services or entities” from those of others. 
 
For instance, the brand landed in the number 42 spot (up from 44 the year prior) on Brand Finance’s “Italy 50” 2020 report, a list that ranks Italian brands by the value of their intangible assets. On that same list, which included both fashion and non-fashion names, Gucci took the top spot in 2020, Armani came in at number 11, LVMH-owned Bulgari ranked at 12, and Moncler at 17. In the number 42 position, Versace ranked lowest of all fashion names. 
 
Compared to all of its luxury and premium peers regardless of nationality, as represented on Brand Finance’s 2020 “Luxury & Premium 50” list, Versace ranked in at 40 out of 50, the same position it held the year before. (For a point of comparison, driving a top-10 ranking for Ferrari, for example, Brand Finance stated that in a testament to goodwill of the brand, as embodied in its source-identifying assets, “It is no wonder that many consumers, who might never own a Ferrari car, want a bag or a watch emblazoned with the Prancing Horse [logo].”)

*An extended version of this article was first published in February exclusively for TFL subscribers. Join today to gain access to all of our exclusive content.