Gianni Versace

(1946 – 1997; Italy) Versace became interested in fashion working in his mother’s tailor shop. Soon enough he worked for three prestigious Milan clothing firms : Genny, Complice and Callaghan and in 1975 Complice hired him to design their leather collection. In 1978 he presented his first signature collection  and in the same year he opened his first boutique: his popularity soared rapidly.

In 1982 Versace won the first of a series of awards, “L’Occhio d’Oro,” (Golden Eye) for the best fashion designer of the 1982-83 fall-winter collection for women. In this collection he displayed his famous “metal garments”, now a classic feature of his style. Over the years he won innumerable other awards

Versace’s logo has a precise symbolic meaning: the head of Medusa, borrowed from a disquieting Greek mythological figure It is  an allusion to the seducing power of Versace style and the kind of woman he wished to design for. The designer played with the idea that who fell in love with Medusa was not safe from her deadly gaze and in the same way who is attracted by Versace will never be able to renounce.

The erotic is always a main component of his style: his woman is elegant and feminine but very sexy at the same time. She wears clothes which emphasize her body shapes (for this reason Versace always chose extraordinary supermodels ).

His style is characterized by a continuous search for new materials and the use of particular fantasies; moreover he always proposed different cuts and shapes and he had a predilection for black and white. checkerboard motives.

As he was a very futurist designer , he was sometimes criticized: some details were considered too technological.

He liked to match very different elements: silk and leather, metal and gum , print fabrics, decorations and embroideries are ultra modern. If he used nostalgic revivals they were always reinterpreted in a modern key.

Versace always paid a great attention to youth culture suggestions. He became more and more popular because of his being an absolute fashion genius.

In the 80’s Gianni Versace was synonymous with striking, sexy glamour and an explosion of fantasy and baroque elements. Versace’s golden age was characterized by continuous experimentations which produced a trash style , at times psychedelic and punk-rock.

He created new cuts , materials (printed leather) and volumes, playing with overlapping, asymmetries  and introducing uncommon material combinations (leather and velvet)

Among the main topics of his style are: the prints , the neo- baroque ornaments and the precious embroideries. His unique laser cutted metal mesh “fabric” , matched with lace and micro crystals , has become a symbol of his style.

In the early 90’s ,characterized by florid  eccentricity and extremism, he introduced a mix of pirate – cow girl style and the 18th century jacquard tapestries . In his later years Gianni adopted a more restrained style , although still expressing bold female sensuality

In 1997 Versace was killed on the front steps of his Miami Beach home by a mentally unbalanced man.

A year after Versace’s death, her sister, Donatella, became the new head of design for the griffe and she designed her first Versace line.


Video intervista a Gianni Versace