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Versace and Christopher Kane Team up in SoHo

Mercer Street, between Prince and Houston, may now be the most luxurious block in all of SoHo. On Wednesday, Versace opened a new boutique there, nestled between Vera Wang, Marc Jacobs, Marni and soon-to-be-opened Saint Laurent and Balenciaga. No doubt the rent is sky-high, but when you're any one of those labels, what's a sky-high rent anyway?

Like many stores in the neighborhood, Versace's new digs are more intimate than its uptown sister's—narrower, with lower ceilings and smaller square footage. But we're told that English architect Jamie Fobert—the man responsible for the modern Italian contrast of Plexiglas panels and flashy gold racks against a floor modeled after Roman Basilicas built in 800 A.D.—will continue redesigning the brand's flagship locations. (His old-meets-new aesthetic is also reflected on Versace.com, which relaunched in late September.)

What makes the SoHo outpost so unique, then? It will be treated as a laboratory for collaborations with artists, designers and other creators who inspire the brand. The first collaboration is with Versus designer Christopher Kane, who stood alongside Donatella on Wednesday to discuss their ongoing partnership, as well as this special collection.

"We fight a lot!" joked Versace of the duo's creative process. "No we don't!" shot back the exceedingly personable Kane. "Maybe we should!" they kidded. For the store, Kane added to his usual Versus responsibilities by helping Donatella on a special-to-SoHo collection of t-shirts, headphones, iPhone cases and even a board game. (He's particularly fond of the tees, a Versace take on the traditional "I Love NY" souvenir.)

Of course, Donatella wants her customer to buy up the store, but she advocates one purchase in particular: "A black patent leather pump—it looks good with everything, jeans, a dress...." And what about flats? Are they not a bit more, well, practical? Not in the world of Versace. "What is a flat?!" she said, with just the teensiest hint of sarcasm.  

There's little doubt that the limited edition products will sell out fast, so we suggest heading to SoHo at your earliest convenience. And keep an eye out for Donatella on SoHo's cobblestone streets. "When I go to New York, I get very much inspired," she said.

The shop is officially open for business at 160 Mercer Street.