Va-Va Voom Versace!

January 27, 2007 • Magazine

Va-Va Voom Versace!

Va-Va Voom Versace!

Sat, 2007-01-27 15:00

Stephanie Miller

The Versace style is not about simplicity, minimalism or the understated. It breaks the rules innovatively. It’s flash and dash. It’s the allure of sexy rock’n’roll-style glamour. It’s classic design reinterpreted to bold, modern tastes with powerful color palettes, vampish black and liquid fabrics. The Versace customers are men and women with strong personalities — individuals who are self-assured and confident in the lifestyle choices they make — individuals who appreciate distinction and character.

Born in Reggio Calabria, Italy, Gianni Versace began his apprenticeship at a young age. His dressmaker mother gave Gianni the task of finding precious stones with which to embroider her dresses. Instead, Gianni offered his mother metallic piping and shiny gold braids: a design decision that clearly demonstrates his early preoccupation with glitz and glamour.

At the age of 25, Gianni moved to Milan, was hired by Complice to design their leather and suede collections, and earned a reputation for his extraordinary knits. Encouraged by his success, Gianni debuted his first collection for women, Gianni Versace Donna in the spring of 1978 at the Palazzo della Permanente Art Museum of Milan. In September of the same year, he introduced his first men’s ready to wear collection.

Versace reinvigorated fashion by injecting it with the panache of ‘Hollywood’ styling, the excitement of the spectacle and the opulence of past centuries. What distinguished Gianni’s vision was his belief that fashion is entertainment: to be watched and admired, not simply worn.
He confirmed his belief in visual entertainment through his collaborations with theater and ballet producers Richard Strauss and Maurice Bejart. Versace designed stage costumes for prestigious productions such as Salome, Leda et la Cygne, and Souvenir de Leningrad. So ornate and beautiful were his costumes that Versace received the honorable Maschera D’Argento (Silver Mask) award for his contribution to Italian theatre.

In 1982, Versace caused a fashion stir with the introduction of “Oroton� in his collection at the Paris Opera. The fine metal mesh that he invented contradicted all of the usual properties of metal. Versace used it to make delicate, shimmering evening gowns and discovered that it was possible to color and pattern the innovative material. Slinky, body-hugging garments that would seemingly require dainty fabrics were now being made with re-worked metal.

It was Versace’s celebration of the female form that drew criticism from staunch Parisian critics. Some considered his clothes vulgar and vampy. But it was these very characteristics that launched him onto the fashion scene. Versace revived the cat suit, brought back the mini skirt, showed tights as trousers and his collections said it was ok to bust out the bustier at night.

His celebrity following is indicative of the theme that resonates throughout the Versace Fashion House: Confidence. Madonna, Tina Turner, Elton John, and even Tupac Shakur were some of his many dedicated clientele. The aforementioned celebrities lack neither individuality nor flair.

Versace’s clothes have become immortalized in pop culture. It is safe to safe that he is single handedly responsible for Elizabeth Hurley’s acting career; Versace designed the attention-grabbing safety pin dress that she wore to the Four Weddings and a Funeral premiere. And one cannot discuss Versace without a quick mention of the most photographed dress, ever: Jennifer Lopez’s deep-V green dress.

On July 15th, 1997, Gianni Versace was gunned down outside his South Beach mansion. His brother Santo and sister Donatella have since taken over the House of Versace and continue to keep his design legacy alive. Dontatella and her daughter Allegra have adapted the House to the 21st Century with a somewhat softer, more modern, organic sensuality that’s just right for today. The Versace name has been consistently recognized for its defiant originality and breakthrough designs: qualities that will continue to inspire for generations to come.

Editorial Content Credits:
“Versace at the V&A� at the Victoria and Albert Museum,
Gianni Versace,
Official Donatella Versace Blog,

Photo Credits:
“Versace at the V&A� at the Victoria and Albert Museum,
Google Images

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