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Sunday, 26 July 2015

Living in Versace: if you loved the outfit, you can buy the flat (?)

It's the kind of place that when you press the doorbell, you may hear a distinct "bling, bling" coming from the inside.

View from the top of "Jenga" tower
Designer views; what residents may see from their Versace apartments in London
Welcome to the UK's first block of flats where the style and interiors have all been designed by the global fashion-house, Versace.
As a result, fashionistas who choose to live their lives smothered in Versace, will soon be able to live under its roof as well.
Every morning they'll be able to wake up in Versace sheets, drink tea from a Versace cup, wallow in a Versace bath and walk on Versace-patterned carpets - even before accessing their Versace wardrobe.
From now on, let no one else tell you that they live in a designer flat.
The top of the so-called Jenga tower
In fact no one will be moving in for another five years or so, but such is the hype surrounding this week's launch, that dozens of the apartments have already been sold.
That will leave many people wondering which is the more frightening trend: the fact that developers may be able to charge an even higher premium for their bricks and mortar or that the boundaries of taste may be shifting ever further from the simple and the understated.

'Feature wall'

The quickly-nicknamed Jenga tower - after the game with wooden blocks - is due to open in the Nine Elms area of London in 2020.
All the residents will have access to a Versace-designed communal lounge, a "sky garden" on the 24th floor, a 900 sq ft pool on the 23rd floor and a Versace-designed children's' play area.
kitchen areas
All kitchens will be fitted with Versace breakfast bars

All bathrooms will have Versace tubs, taps, tiling and a floor made from a single sheet of marble, while all kitchens will contain a Versace breakfast bar.

The reception rooms will be carpeted with a classic "Greek key" designs, and the bedrooms will have a "feature wall".

The word from Milan is that aficionados have not lived, or loved, till now.

"Versace is synonymous with fashion and luxury, and its participation in the real estate business provides the opportunity to fully experience the Versace lifestyle," says Gian Giacomo Ferraris, the company's chief executive.
Versace dining room
Versace house style - understated it's not

'Flamboyant look'

Prices start at £1m for a two bedroom apartment, and £3m for a three-bedroom.
And those spending that amount will be able to immerse themselves even more fully in the world of the Italian fashion house.
They will be flown free of charge to its Milan headquarters, where they will be able to discuss their interior design needs in greater detail with a Versace consultant.
"Each one will be overseen by Donatella Versace, as she does all her designs," says Krete Luca, sales manager with Hamptons International, which is handling enquiries for the development.
Versace wine goblets
Even your wine glasses can be Versace - if you want

At that point, a whole new world of "Versace-ness" opens up.
The owners will then be able to buy branded cutlery, glasses and tablecloths with the word Versace embossed in the corner and pictures, sofas, table lamps and cushions bearing the signature Medusa head.
"Versace is a very specialised taste," says Daniel Hopwood, presenter of BBC Two's The Great Interior Design Challenge and a designer himself.
"It was big in the 1980s. It's quite excessive and quite baroque in design - shiny surfaces and a lot of gold. But it's bling in a nice way."
However most of the design and the colours in London will be muted, says Mr Luca.
"The bathroom's a light grey marble, with a subtle finish. However, if you want a more flamboyant look, you can have that," he says.

'Scary future'

In the future, more and more interiors may come from fashion designers. After all, they are already established brands. Few other interior designers - apart from perhaps Kelly Hoppen - are household names.
The developers of the Nine Elms project, Damac, have already used Versace to design apartment blocks in Saudi Arabia and Beirut.
And its Italian rival Armani is currently building a block of apartments in Florida, with prices of up to $6m for ocean-front units.
"We are going to see more of this," says Daniel Hopwood.
"It's a scary future, but it will happen, especially with internationalism."

Armani Spa
Fashion designers are also moving into hotels

Fashion brands are moving into the hotel market too, providing further impetus for their interior design products. An Armani hotel already occupies 11 floors of the Burj Khalifa hotel in Dubai. There is also a branch in Milan.
The Bulgari hotel in London's Knightsbridge provides other clues as to what the future may look like.
The website explains that the hotel "offers subtle quotations from Bulgari's beginnings as a Roman silversmith".
In other words, there's a lot of shininess here too.

'Socks and underpants'

Branded interior design doesn't have to be posh, of course.
"It could be Armani, Versace, or even Ikea," says Hopwood. Indeed Ikea has been helping to build affordable homes in Sweden since 1997.
Nevertheless, for those who like to put their own stamp on their homes, the idea is unlikely to be popular universally.
"As a concept, for most people, walking into a branded house will feel very alien," says Hopwood.
"Do you have to take it right down to the socks and underpants, for goodness sake?"

From BBC News Business


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