Rising Runway: Versace Group’s Collaboration with Airbus and Augusta Westland


History has proven that luxury comes in a plethora of shapes, sizes, and materials, making the choice, for those most fortunate, of which extravagance to indulge in a difficult one. Since the Versace Group has established collaborations with luxury brands Airbus and Augusta Westland, allowing its signature modern baroque style to reach new, unrivaled heights in the sky, the choice got easier.

A European press conference in the spring of 2007 marked the official announcement that Gianni Versace S.p.A. would collaborate with TAG Aircraft Interiors Limited to transform the interior of the Airbus A319, one of the largest aircraft on the market, into a haven of luxury filled with signature pieces inspired by Versace’s Home Couture collection. “Versace is proud to have been chosen as the exclusive interior designer of this new Airbus A319 by a very discerning client,” reflects Versace CEO Giancarlo Di Risio. The fusion of luxury brands sparked an interest amongst the global jet-setting elite that has continued to grow.

 The 16-seat aircraft interior, once bare, is now filled with the crisp, clean iconic Versace black and white color scheme, offering a sleek aesthetic.

This partnership marked the first ever between a fashion house and a private jet corporation (Versace did previously work with TAG on a Boeing Gulfstream 550, but the work was not a directly commissioned partnership between the carrier and design house) and the stunning results will undoubtedly set a trend for other designers and manufacturers to follow. “I’m sure that today the style of life is extremely important,” explains Di Risio. “The excitement from owning pretty things or shoes may not last as long as flying one’s own helicopter or jet. It’s a 360-degree turnaround.” The lucky owner of this Airbus certainly will relish in its magnificence for years to come, much longer than one would over a pair of even the finest custom driving moccasins.

Due to the fact that Versace and TAG previously collaborated with Boeing, a working dynamic was already present between the two companies, allowing a superior quality of work to be produced in a time-efficient manner. Versace S.p.A. was responsible for all of the design content and styling, while TAG was responsible for the logistics, technicalities, and management. This balance allowed each team to focus specifically on their objectives, resulting in the brilliant melding of technology and innovation, and the dazzling, sexy, fashionable manner. Though this project sounds more like a dream, it was no easy feat considering the massiveness of the Airbus A319’s structure.

The 16-seat aircraft interior, once bare, is now filled with the crisp, clean iconic Versace black and white color scheme, offering a sleek aesthetic. The armchairs are embossed with the House’s Greek fret motif, while the furnishings are all comprised of the finest imported leather, wood, and glass. Everything adorning the interior-from the carpeting to the seating-is fully customized, thus justifying the $60 million price tag. Though the owner’s name cannot be disclosed, it can be assured that the sir or madam is flying in high style.

As if designing the interior of one of the most impressive aircraft to grace the runway isn’t enough, Versace pursued its conquest of sky-born luxury with its Augusta Westland project. Roughly one year ago, Versace and Augusta Westland released word that the two luxury brands would partner to complete one of the most resplendent projects to ever hit the sky. This entailed Versace filling the interior of AW’s two exclusive helicopter models-the Grand and the 109 Power-with the sleek sophisticated style for which the design house is best known. “The interior design of helicopters is a natural development for Versace after its move into luxury resorts, private jets, super cars, and yachts, all fitting vehicles for the unique lifestyle purveyed by the Maison,” explains Di Risio. And these two helicopters certainly are befitting of the good life.
The first chopper, a Grand, can accommodate six people comfortably, and when we say “comfortable,” we mean each will have a personal armchair covered in full grain black-and-white leather bearing the Versace logo, a symbol of refined distinction. The flooring is made of wall-to-wall black carpeting and the walls are lined with butter-soft black leather interspersed with carbon fiber panels. A metal tag bearing the Versace name is located centrally in the cabin, giving the feel of a chic Manhattan boutique rather than an aircraft once intended for combat. The most important seats in the helicopter are the captain chairs, which Versace designed to be not only luxurious, but also technically superior with an aerodynamic wraparound shape. The 109 Power mimics this grandeur and chic-sophisticated style, offering one of the hautest modes of transportation.

With Versace’s continued growth expected to reach every aspect of the luxury market, the fashion house will continually redefine the luxury lifestyle, setting the standard for other design houses to follow.