When it comes to sultry, sensual, and alluring clothing designers, Versace hovers right at the top. Because Versace has not only designed and manufactured its clothing but also, distributed and retailed it, it has been of exquisite quality, just as Gianni Versace had envisioned.
Versace, from the very beginning, has made fine clothes in a whimsical and intoxicating fashion, and that has been the formula for its success, from its founding until this very day.
History of Versace
In Milan, Italy, Gianni Versace established Gianni Versace S.r.l. in 1978. Included in this venture were his sister, Donatella, and his brother, Santo, who inspired him.
Instantly a success, Versace designed clothes and costumes for theater and film actors and won award after award. For the first four years, the company only made designer, tailored clothes.
Company Evolution through the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s
In 1982, Versace began putting its name on designer accessories, furniture, and home goods. Then, in 1989, Gianni released a collection of outfits that were silk with leopard skin and Medusa head prints.
Versace was now considered haute couture. The Couture collection put Versace into their own category, and it was great and unique.
The ’80s and ’90s were Versace’s “Golden Era”. They showed designers that there weren’t only a set couple of ways to do things but that, with imagination and ingenuity, you could create magic – magic like you saw when you looked at Cindy Crawford donning her Versace gowns.
You can look up Versace even now on Google, and image after image pops up of the Versace clothes of the ’90s, gorgeous gowns on gorgeous supermodels, like Linda Evangelista – unforgettable!
Before then, the Versace logo had consisted of the founder’s name, but in 1993, the Medusa logo was created. Originating in mythology, Medusa could make you fall hopelessly and forever in love. Gianni had hoped that this charm would ring true for Versace, as well, and it did.
Gianni Versace Bio
Born Dec. 2, 1946, in Reggio Calabria, Italy, Gianni Versace worked with his mother for years as she made dresses. He grew to adore fashion. Gianni actually fashioned his very first dress at the age of 9, a one-shouldered evening gown.
He took an apprenticeship at his mother’s shop to jumpstart his career. Next, he left architecture quickly to move to Milan and into the world of fashion. He began designing for Fiori Fiorentini. He, then, worked for DeParisi, Genny, and Callaghan. After that, it was Alma and Complice. For Complice, his designs included the Versace name.
He was driven forward by this, so he kept working hard at designing his own lines. He worked until he earned the position of Creative Director and was confident enough to found his own label. He founded Versace in 1978, and in Milan’s Via Della Spiga, the first Versace boutique came to be.
Success came to Gianni all through the ’80s and ’90s.
Gianni moved to Miami in 1992 to a villa in South Beach. It was named The Villa Casa Casuarina. He also purchased the lot next to it and spent over $30MM to renovate the place, to create it just the way he wanted it. Thus, the Versace Mansion was built.
He lived here until a manic fan named Andrew Cunanan murdered him in 1997. He was the 5th victim of Cunanan, a serial killer, who shot Gianni on his own doorstep. Cunanan spoke of their relationship as close, but many say no relationship existed. Eight days after the murder, Cunanan committed suicide.
Donatella Versace Bio
Born May 2, 1955, in Reggio Calabria, Italy, Donatella was the baby of the Versace family and, as she is quoted as saying, “…the best-dressed girl in the city”. She formed her own style as a teen, dyeing her hair platinum blonde and penning herself very dark eyes.
Following somewhat in the footsteps of her mother and brother, Donatella Versace became Gianni’s advisor and inspiration when he founded Versace in the late ’70s. In the ’80s, she designed the company’s Versus line.
Donatella took on the position of Artistic Director for the Versace Group after her brother was killed in 1997, and her brother, Santo, became the CEO. She also serves as Vice President of the board of directors.
Links to Famous Movie Stars and Musicians
Versace’s link with music was new for the fashion industry, but the company made it work in a big way. Because Gianni was friends with many huge names in music and films, names like Eric Clapton, Sting, Elton John, Cher, and Michael Jackson, they could wear his creations and show off the Versace designer brand. The average person adored these icons and wanted to wear whatever they were wearing.
Versace was now advertising to the world, and there was a new explosion of interest. That Medusa logo must have been at work…and it still is today.
Princess Diana wore a version of the first-ever dress, a one-shouldered gown, Gianni made in his childhood.
Jennifer Lopez “J-Lo”
J-Lo wore Donatella’s design, a very alluring jungle print in silk chiffon with a very low neckline, to the 42nd Academy Awards in 2000.
Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen, Carla Bruni, and Linda Evangelista
Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen, Carla Bruni, and Linda Evangelista wore the Oroton metal mesh design, which is a hard metal mesh draped in silk, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Gianni Versace S.r.l. in 2018.
Elizabeth Hurley wore the tempting safety pin dress to accompany Hugh Grant to the premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Miss S&M Bondage
The Miss S& M Bondage Collection was a bit controversial, but donning tight-fitting leather and an authoritative look on their faces, the models made the sell.
The fashion design house of Versace symbolizes Italian luxury world-wide. In early 2019, Gianni Versace S.r.l. partnered with Capri Holdings Limited. This partnership, alongside Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo, formed a new world-wide luxury group.