March 20, 2008 / 6:19 PM / 11 years ago

Buckle up to travel in Versace-style chopper

VERGIATE, Italy (Reuters Life!) - Versace suit? Check. Versace handbag? Check. Versace sofa? Check. Got them all, so now it’s time to deck out your helicopter in the Italian designer’s style.

Versace's Chief Executive Giancarlo di Risio poses near the new AW 109 Power Agusta Westland, the first helicopter to be fitted with Versace-styled interiors, which has been delivered to Romania's former tennis player turned businessman Ion Tiriac at the Agusta Westland headquarters in Vergiate, around 60km (37 miles) north-west of Milan, March 20, 2008. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

The Milan-based fashion house has stepped into the world of luxurious air transport, making made-to-measure helicopter interiors for its wealthy admirers.

From smooth black and white leather seats to the house’s classic Medusa head logo imprints, Versace is rolling out classy sleek interiors for those who want to add glamour to their chopper.

“We have entered a new frontier in luxury,” Versace Chief Executive Giancarlo Di Risio said at a ceremony on Thursday, where the first two Versace interior-styled helicopters were unveiled to their new owners.

The choppers, for which Versace has teamed up with Agusta Westland, a unit of Italian defense and aerospace group Finmeccanica, took over a year to make.

The price was not disclosed, but an Agusta spokesman said a helicopter cost for $5 million-$6 million, to which interior design costs are added.

“For me, it is an object of class,” former Romanian tennis player-turned-businessman Ion Tiriac said before pouring champagne and autographing his new chopper — his third.

“I travel to work like this.”

Tiriac’s new helicopter, the ‘Grand’, has been decked out with black and white leather seats stitched with a Grecian-style motif and the Versace house logo and design on the outside.

Fellow buyer, Italian businessman Bruno Zago, said he wanted something simple. His new AW109 Power chopper, which he will also use for work, has grey leather seats, a customized carpet and its own TV screen.

“It’s a beautiful brand,” he said, before climbing into Tiriac’s chopper for a ride.

Di Risio said designing the interior of helicopters was “the natural development” for Versace, whose fashion collections have moved away from a gold and glitter image to a more understated, wearable look thanks to design head Donatella Versace.

Prior to helicopters for which it has received further orders, the company put its style skills to luxury resorts, private jets, yachts and limited edition Lamborghinis.

“What is the luxury of today? It’s planes, helicopters,” Di Risio told Reuters. “We are in the highest end of luxury.”

Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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