On July 15, 1997 the world of international fashion lost one of his top designers: Gianni Versace, who was killed that day in front of his house in Miami Beach. The news of his murder shocked the world and almost twenty years later the audience still remembers one of the most audacious fashion innovators.
Gianni Versace, born in Reggio Calabria in 1946, discovered very soon his interest in sewing and clothes design, as he had the opportunity to learn from his mother, who owned a tailor’s shop. He worked there until he felt like he had to look for bigger opportunities, so he moved to Milan and visited Paris and London to acquire all he could to develop his technique and find new inspiration.
In Milan he created his first collections for Genny, Callaghan and Complice, but 1978 is the year when the first collection signed by Gianni Versace walked the catwalk. That was the turning point in his career: Versace was a reality, with shop openings and even a logo that made his creations for men and women famous all over the world.
Since the beginning of his career Versace demonstrated a predilection for women clothes, which allowed him to express his personal style. His dresses are usually tight and sexy and made in brilliant colours, often characterized by deep necklines and metal inserts. A clear example of what we are talking about is the famous black dress with golden pins that Liz Hurley wore in 1994, in occasion of Four weddings and a funeral premiere.
Versace’s genius is demonstrated also by his use of fabrics: he could mix different materials like velvet and leather, silk and metal and many others creating unusual combination, achieving that sexy and audacious style typical of most of his creations. His constant experimentation with fabrics and materials brought him to another great innovation: the invention of Oroton, a metal mesh he used to create glamorous dresses.
If in the 80’s he became an international fashion star, also creating wonderful costumes for ballet and theatre, in the 90’s Gianni Versace launched Versus, the brand’s young line. But in the same years the designer put a particular effort in making his runways and advertising campaigns memorable: he started a collaboration with well known photographers like Richard Avedon and invented the “supermodel phenomenon”.
Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford: they all have been the protagonists of Versace’s shootings and catwalks and became more and more required by other top fashion designers. In the 90s’ supermodels were as famous and rich as rockstars and actors!
And talking about celebrities, lots of them admired Gianni and his work: singers like Michael Jackson, Madonna and Elton John used to wear Versace’s creations, as well as crowned heads and movie stars.
Gianni Versace run the company with his brother, Santo, and his sister, Donatella. After Gianni was murdered in 1997 his brothers continued the activity and later Allegra, Donatella’s daughter, joined the group.
Many years have passed since the day when a killer deprived international fashion of a super talented and innovative designer, but nobody has forgotten him. The company keeps staying among the top ones and Donatella’s creations are now the protagonists of Versace’s catwalks.
In the end, Gianni Versace has been a legend for the world of fashion and an inspiration for younger designers: the heritage he left is too important to be forgotten.