RETURN TRIP: Versace is returning to its roots by once again holding its men's show on Jan. 17 at the company's Via Gesù headquarters. The brand started showing at the Versace Teatro in Milan's piazza Vetra in September 2006. "The decision to present the Versace collection in Via Gesù again is part of our strategy to underline the DNA of the brand," said a company spokesman. "Via Gesù 12 is the historical location of Versace shows and it is now the perfect environment to bring out the soul of the Versace collections." The company is mulling the idea to also hold its women's show in Via Gesù in February.
THE GOBLET GOES TO: Trying to build on awards season hype, Little Black Dress Wines will kick off the bidding for celebrity-donated dresses and autographed wine bottles on Jan. 17, the day after the Golden Globes air. Voting will wrap up March 1, after the Academy Awards. The online auction will benefit two charities, Dress for Success and the Clothes Off Our Back Foundation. Shoshanna Gruss, Simon Doonan, Kristin Chenoweth and Scott Disick are among the celebs who have signed away. And Rachael Ray was one of the first in line to donate one of her Donna Karan LBDs.
PICTURE THIS: For the spring Araks lookbook, designer Araks Yeramyan handed over the photo assignment to Julie Gilhart, Sally Singer, Robert Geller, Magnus Berger, Eva Fontanelli and a few others whom she thought would capture the essence of her brand. The chosen 13 each were sent a disposable camera, a set of lingerie and zero instructions. The end result hangs together surprisingly well even though none of the mostly rookies saw any of the prints — including their own.
Gilhart, who hosted a celebratory dinner Wednesday at The Smile, said, "It was hard not knowing what the shot looked like. We're so used to digital cameras." It is still up in the air as to what her post-Barneys move will be.
Yeramyan, on the other hand, was certain that she will pursue more ventures along these lines. "I love doing things that scare me — you have to. Otherwise, it's boring," she said.
ANNIE'S NEWS FLASH: Off-price chains have been loathe to operate e-commerce sites. Even their advertising only hints at the labels they carry since many of their resources prefer to keep their off-price activity on the down low. Annie Sez recently launched an online private flash sale site at anniesez.com. Ken Mandelbaum, chairman and chief executive officer, said flash sales lend themselves to off-price retail where buys — often closeouts — don't have a lot of depth or range of sizes. "With a flash sale, the customer knows up front that quantities are limited," he said. "That's the excitement." In addition to apparel and accessories, the new site will feature high-end jewelry and men's wear, categories not sold at Annie Sez stores. "We think it will be a very substantial part of our business, much bigger than the volume of a brick-and-mortar store," he said.
Meanwhile, Annie Sez's new ad campaign superimposes its Web address, anniesez.com, over images of models wearing the season's trends who are accessorized to the hilt. The ad campaign is part of a rebranding effort that includes the flash sale site and store enhancements such as new color schemes, signage and fixturing.