Global fashion behemoth Versace plans to cement Gastown’s reputation as a homeware destination when it opens the world’s first Versace Home store to carry a full line of home products – from tiles and faucets to comforters, dining room tables and wallpaper.
The company’s only other Versace Home stores are in Milan, Dubai and Beirut but they do not carry bathroom fixtures, tiles or other products, marketer and Major Global Interior business development manager Peter Zuo told Business in Vancouver.
The 3,000-square-foot store will open in late September or October at 310 West Cordova Street, in a location that consignment store Deluxe Jung formerly occupied, Zuo said.
“There won’t be any fashion or bags,” he added. “Those will still be sold at Leone.”
Retail analyst Craig Patterson, who operates the Retail Insider blog, believes that the new Versace Home store will make Gastown more of a destination for people seeking interior fashions.
“Look at Inform Interiors, at 50 Water Street,” he said. “They trailblazed in the neighbourhood for luxury home furnishings. There are now others and the area is seen as one of the hippest in North America.”
Indeed, New York fashion magazine Complex named Gastown as the world’s fourth most stylish neighbourhood in the world in 2012.
He said that he has heard that Versace plans to open as many a total of five Versace stores in Canada within the next several years. One of those could be another Versace Home store. Currently the only freestanding Versace fashion store in Canada is in Toronto.
Patterson’s source has told him that Versace plans to break even with those stores within a year of opening and for them to be profitable within two years.
“The new Versace Home store is proof that other places in Vancouver have become exceedingly expensive and that this is where the affordable retail space is and where the young professionals are moving,” said Hastings Crossing Business Improvement Association executive director Wes Regan.
He told BIV that he believes that the business community has been waiting for some clear signals of what to expect in the area between Gastown and Chinatown.
Now that the city has completed a local area plan for the neighbourhood, it is clear that there will be more development in the area between Gastown and Chinatown and that thousands more people will move to the area in the next 20 years.
What remains unclear, however, is what the reaction will be among anti-gentrification activists who held regular protests and were picketing outside the higher-end restaurant Pidgin, which opened last summer near Pigeon Park in the downtown eastside.
“It’s hard for me to answer if there will be protests,” he told BIV. “There are already some high-end stores that are on that stretch of Cordova and I can’t remember them being protested. Versace is a huge brand so because of that brand recognition, [protestors] might raise that ire.”