The first Versace boutique was open in 1928, Milan, Italy. The popularity of the fashion label was almost immediate. The fashion label at present has turned into an empire of diversification in terms of business selling items such as home interior, beauty products, aftershave, perfume, Versace couture jeans, men’s apparel, woman’s apparel, couture evening wear, high fashion clothing and they even have the Versace Palazzo hotel on the gold coast of Australia and also there is construction of a hotel in Dubai. Basically since the day Versace launched it has grown ever since and became a conglomerate of businesses.
The Founder: Beneath this hugely successful business is the very guy that started it, Gianni Versace. Born, December 2, 1946, Reggio Calabria, Gianni Versace grew up with his older brother Santo and younger sister Donatella, along with his father and mother who was a dress maker. Gianni Versace started his interest in fashion at a young age when he would help his mother find precious stones that he would help embroider into dresses his mother designed. He studied architecture before moving to Milan to start a career in fashion design, in the mid 1970’s head hunters Genny and Callaghan hired him to design there leather and suede collection. After this he then went on to produce his own collection. Gianni Versace was inspired by Andy Warhol, African tribal, ancient Greek art and mythology, also modern abstract art. One of his major influences would have to be Greek mythology as the logo for Versace is the medusa head. The inspiration and connections to him having this for a logo is very interesting and almost describes what his work is all about. The medusa head is some what symbolizing the empowerment of women, a look at medusa and she would turn you into stone, she stunned people with her intimidating look, with snakes in her hair that she came to have from surviving from the loss of a partner through an affair. She then became to hold a domineering look that empowered her. This almost seems irrelevant in a way but it is not due to the fact that Gianni chose to symbolize medusa in his brand so that woman felt empowered when buying his clothes. Gianni Versace the founder, was an amazing designer he empowered woman through clothing that had bright flamboyant textiles, sleek and sexual cuts of fabric, and most of all which he beheld in his designs was being able to make a woman feel confident and sexually appealing but at the same time in a save way. Sadly Gianni Versace died on 14th of July, 1997.
Versace at present: The head designer of Versace is Donatella, Gianni Versace’s sister. She took over as head designer when Gianni Versace passed away. She has given the brand a fresh look, still keeping in tacked Gianni Versace’s legacy of empowering woman. Donatella still works to the curves of a woman’s body and cuts all the garments with the finest stretched cotton and silks. Donatella has taken to the brand with a more architectural look that is very futuristic and modern looking. The clothing that is produced now is a contrast to Gianni Versace’s clothing but it still holds all the key elements within the design that makes it Versace. There are many faces of Versace in celebrity culture, including Elton John, Elizabeth Hurley, Alx Rose, late princess Diana, Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G, also Lady Gaga and Jenifer Lopez. All these celebrities either name drop the brand as fashion knowledge or they have major deals with the brand.
Versace Timeline: Versace has produced many collections over the last few decades, here is a time line to show the progression of the brand.
Time line of Spring/summer collections:
As you can see over the years Versace has evolved and changed there look but still keeping the Versace legacies. An outfit designed by Versace that I think describes the brand well would be this black love heart dress, I think this describes the brand well as it appeals to the female girly audience as it invokes aspects such as hearts that are made by zips. To produce something designed by zips is something you usually would not do. This is what makes the garment successful because its taking things you would not usually associate with each other and putting them together to form what is a beautiful garment. This zip trend was a trend set by Versace and is still a trend today. You can find dresses with zip detail also bags and clutches, so this is why this dress to me describes Versace. I think that if you can start some kind of trend or movement off, No matter how big it gets, it still promotes success and as long as it appeals to the customer then you really can not go wrong as a designer.
Influence: Gianni Versace and the brand today that is run by Donatella Versace. I think is a great influence, through being a fan of there clothing I have learnt to have respect for women through including feminist trends throughout the fashion that I design. I think Versace has influenced me in so many ways as a designer, which enables me to produce clothing that is a bit provocative and in some way demands a sexual empowerment. Versace’s latest summer/spring collection 2010 had a major Greek influence, but instead of making it look traditional Greek clothing they took the look of the clothing and modernised it in an almost futuristic way. Here is a couple examples of my work which includes the Greek theme of geometric swirls; this is a rough textile idea of mine in its first stages. I also feel that Versace the brand has also made me think outside the box when it comes to designing. I think through looking at designers obviously including Versace I have learned about the symbolism that can be intertwined with clothing to produce power for woman. Fashion has been the platform for woman empowerment for decades now and it just keeps getting better.
Here is a final design produced by myself that was inspired by Versace.
Post by Conor McCubbin