updated 12:30 pm EST, Tue January 19, 2010
Versace teams with ModeLabs for handset
Versace today signaled its plans to get into the luxury phone field with a model of its own. The Italian design house isn't yet willing to provide full information but says it has worked with French electronics designers ModeLabs to develop a phone that it hopes will outclass similar offerings from Christian Dior, Prada and other upscale European labels. The phone is expected to cost more than the 3,500 Euros ($4,995) of the Christian Dior clamshell and should use high-end materials.
A more formal unveiling is expected next week at a special event for Versace's favorite clients to be held at the Hotel Plaza Athénée in Paris. Early customers should have their phones in May.
Luxury phones have faced an uphill struggle in recent years as they have frequently had to compete with smartphones. Apple's iPhone and the BlackBerry line have often been seen as minor prestige items for celebrities and fashion-conscious users, while Nokia's Vertu line has often had more limited abilities than regular Nokia smartphones that cost a tenth the price. [via WSJ, subscription required]