Gianni Versace famously said, “I don’t believe in good taste.” It was exactly the kind of remark reflected in his designs for Versace, which he founded in 1978; bold and risqué. After his tragic death, his younger sister and muse, Donatella Versace, took over the reins as creative director. Today, no single name is as definitive of Italian fashion than Versace.
In its latest milestone, the fashion house has just swooped up by another big name in the industry. Michael Kors Holdings did a little shopping on Tuesday, dropping USD2.12 billion (roughly MYR 8.78 billion) on Gianni Versace S.p.A. For the love of all things nostalgia and Versace today, we’re looking back at some of the most historical Versace moments:
It was the first time in history that a designer had been given the ‘Grande Medialle de Vermeil de la Ville de Paris’ award; the equivalent on making an individual an honorary citizen of France. Designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Valentino have gone on to receive this prestigious award. Just the year before, Gianni was also awarded for his contribution to costume design in theatre.
Recognising the potential for supermodels in creating a cultural impact, Gianni created the first wave of “influencers”, if you will. His Fall 1991 show was one to remember, when he had put on a new kind of finale. Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista walk down the runway together, lip-synching to George Michael’s “Freedom”, the music video in which they had just starred in. Crawford calls this moment her defining supermodel moment, telling V Magazine in 2013 that it felt like “the stars had aligned”.
The icon was shot and killed at the steps of his Miami mansion by a serial killer named Andrew Cunanan, who ultimately took his own life days after the murder. Donatella, who had already been working with Versace group as the accessories director and had also designed the first children’s collection ‘Young Versace’ in 1993, was then named the brand’s new creative director.
Yes, with that dress: green silk chiffon with a tropical leaf and bamboo pattern, but more notably, a plunging neckline that stopped a little past the navel. The dress was presented by Amber Valetta on the catwalk, featured in Versace’s campaigns and even worn by Donatella herself to the Met Gala in 1999, but it wasn’t until Lopez put it on for the 2000 Grammy Awards that the garment made headlines. The rest they say, is history.
Michael Kors Holdings acquired all the outstanding shares of the Italian fashion house, announcing that the parent company will now be called Capri Holdings. Donatella said in a statement, “We believe that being part of this group is essential to Versace’s long-term success. My passion has never been stronger. This is the perfect time for our company, which puts creativity and innovation at the core of all of its actions, to grow.”