The story of the Versace brand: From a young tailor to a fashion icon
There are certain brands that stand out above all others, becoming icons of style and luxury. One such unique case is Versace. The history of the Versace brand begins with humble beginnings and transforms into a story of passion, courage and extraordinary beauty. Today, the brand is known for its extravagant style, expressive patterns and excellent craftsmanship. Behind its label there is also great vision and a legacy that has endured for many years. How did Gianni Versace manage to create this timeless fashion empire?
The beginnings of the brand
The history of the Versace brand has its origins in Italy, and the main figure of this extraordinary venture was Gianni Versace. Born on December 2, 1946 in Reggio di Calabria, Italy, he was the third of four siblings. He demonstrated from an early age interest in fashion and art, and his real one designing clothes was my passion. It all started in a small tailor’s workshop, where Gianni worked on his first designs for a selected group of clients. He himself grew up in his mother’s tailoring workshop.
He had a chance to develop his career in 1972, when he received an offer to create his own clothing collection in Milan. Soon after, he started working as a designer for famous fashion houses such as Florentine Flowers or Callaghan. From the very beginning, Gianni liked to surround himself with luxury. He created his designs with extraordinary boldness to emphasize women’s beauty and silhouettes. He was a great lover of architecture and drew inspiration from the Baroque era, the influence of which was visible in his fashion designs.
Which is why great talent and creativity young Gianni quickly made themselves felt. He had an exceptional sense of aesthetics and incredible passion for work. He soon gained recognition in the industry, which allowed him to open his own boutique in Milan, which he named after himself – Versace. However, he did not do it completely alone – he founded the brand in 1978 in cooperation with his siblings , Donatella and Santi Versace. Gianni’s younger sister and muse took on the advertising of the brand, while his older brother took care of the finances of the Italian empire.
The brand’s eccentric style
From the very beginning, Versace gained recognition for its original design and bold, even eccentric approach to fashion. Gianni eagerly used motifs referring to Greek mythology, culture and art, which attracted the attention of celebrities, music stars and ambassadors brands. He himself believed that one of the greatest powers that govern not only fashion, but the entire world is sex appeal. The brand quickly became recognizable thanks to its characteristic patterns, such as Medusa, Greek motifs or a logo with the characteristic “VERSACE” inscription.
Over time, stars fell in love with the brand for its expressiveness, and its creations began to appear on red carpets and magazine covers. Additionally, Gianni Versace played a key role in creating the phenomenon “supermodels” in the 1990s. His shows featured the biggest modeling stars, such as Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Claudia Schiffer. Just like today, campaigns promote famous names from outside the industry, for example athletes at Calvin Klein, this is how world-class models used to do it.
The history of the Versace brand is steeped in tragedy
Unfortunately, it was only future events that were to redefine the brand. Less than two decades after Versace was created, Gianni was tragically assassinated in Miami. On July 15, 1997, the designer was shot dead on the steps of his Miami Beach home as he returned from his usual morning walk along the cliff in Ocean Drive, Florida. In 2018, the premiere of Ryan Murphy’s series “American Crime Story: The Assassination of Versace” took place, in which the creator presented simultaneously important moments in the lives of the victim and the killer, Giovanni Versace and Andrew Cunanan.
Although it was an unimaginable loss for the fashion world, the brand did not give up, continuing its unique legacy. The helm of the brand was taken over by Donatella Versace, who quickly showed that she also had plenty of talent and charisma. Donatella turned out to be a talented designer andshe continued her brother’s legacy, introducing new lines of clothing, accessories and perfumes. Under her leadership, Versace has maintained its position as one of the most important and influential fashion brands in the world.
The new era of Versace
Under Donatella’s leadership, the brand expanded its offer with new product lines. Haute couture collections, a casual line, a sports line, as well as men’s, women’s and children’s collections were introduced. Donatella was heavily involved in the global expansion of the brand. New Versace boutiques have opened in major cities around the world, such as New York, Paris, Tokyo, London or Hong Kong. The brand has become available to a wide international group of customers.
Importantly, the designer continued her brother’s creativity, but at the same time introduced her own perspective on fashion. Her designs were characterized by a more romantic and subtle approach, but still retained the unique style and extravagant aesthetics for which the brand was appreciated. Donatella also introduced new technologies in production and design. After Gianni’s death, the brand began to use modern materials, printing techniques and innovative solutions in the production of its products, which allowed the creation of increasingly advanced collections.
In addition, the new creative director perfectly understood the power of image and the so-called celebrity in fashion. She collaborated with many stars and famous figures who promoted the fashion house as its ambassadors. Donatella herself was also willingly involved in various charitable and social activities. Therefore, the Versace brand supports many organizations and initiatives that focus on education, health and environmental protection.
Work full of inspiration
After years of uncertainty, fear and struggle with addiction, Donatella Versace believed in her brother’s unique work and in herself. Currently, the designer also has the support of strong and influential women. Not only does she maintain long-standing friendships with supermodeling icons of the 80s and 90s, but she also gains the support of today’s top models who form the foundation of her fashion empire. Her experience and extraordinary sense of aesthetics developed over the years are what is visible in today’s perception of the brand.
The unique history of the Versace brand is enriched by the extraordinary relationship between the siblings, filled with love for each other and fashion. Indeed, the great designer and his eight-year-younger sister were practically inseparable. As a child, she was Gianni’s first model, and he learned how to pin fabric on her figure. “If I were to get married one day, I would choose a girl like Donatella,” Gianni used to say. Donatelle was also called his passport to the world of women. Perhaps it was thanks to the moments spent with his beloved sister that the young designer learned women’s needs and requirements, including fashion.
The history of the Versace brand – what is it like today?
Undoubtedly, the history of the Versace brand is a story of courage, passion and creativity that began from humble beginnings. Her influence on the world of fashion is undeniable, and what started with one young tailor has become a legacy that will last for many years. Versace is not just a brand, it is a symbol of unique vision and beauty and an important voice ready to influence changes in the industry. It’s also interesting how contemporary brands also go beyond their industries. A great example of this can be a beach club under the banner of another famous fashion house – Fendi. To sum up, although the Versace fashion house remains the property of the Versace family and continues its expansion without losing its characteristic style and class.