Canada’s first Versace Home opens in Gastown

Versace Home in Gastown.
Versace Home in Gastown.

Versace Home’s arrival reflects Vancouver’s luxury-market status

Following in the chic footsteps of Milan and Dubai, the Italian luxury brand Versace Home opened in Gastown last Friday—its first freestanding flagship store dedicated to homeware in Canada.

The 3,000-square-foot high-ceilinged space at 310 West Cordova boasts the iconic Medusa and neoclassical emblems and patterns on a raft of upper-echelon goods—from beds, sofas and tables to cushions, throws, porcelain plates and glassware.

The Versace Home store follows last month’s opening of a Versace Boutique in Toronto as part of its plan for the North American market, explains Gian Giacomo Ferraris, the CEO of Versace. “Our strategy is to offer a 360-degree experience of Versace’s lifestyle; Versace is a world that goes from fashion to accessories lines to fragrances as well as home products,” he says. “Vancouver is moreover an increasing luxury market with very discerning clients that naturally look for the Versace brand.”

Indeed, Versace Home’s arrival as well as the introduction of such high-end stores as Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, the Oakridge Centre renovation project, the planned Holt Renfrew expansion and Harry Rosen renovation “are all indications of the faith that the industry has in Vancouver,” according to Raymond Shoolman, senior retail consultant at Vancouver’s DIG360 Consulting Ltd. and former vice-president at Hugo Boss.

“Almost every luxury brand has a retail presence in Vancouver, which has developed a reputation as a city that you have to be present in,” Shoolman continues, adding that he is not surprised Versace chose B.C. given that the price of homes, cost of living and success of some luxury brand stores here have “encouraged designer luxury brands to want a piece of the pie.”

While not positioned at the more traditional high-octane luxury corner on Alberni, Versace identified the new boutique’s Gastown location—which is near to home stores such as Inform Interiors, Orling & Wu and Old Faithful—as “a strong and vibrant design community.” Ferraris continues, “It was then quite natural for us to step here with close proximity to existing premium furnishing and home accessories boutiques.”

Shoolman concurs about its appeal: “Gastown is also developing the reputation as the up-and-coming boutique shopping area in Vancouver and has the ‘cool’ factor, which appears to interest Versace.”