A look back at some of the house’s boldest moments.
While fashion’s role within pop culture has long been pivotal, it remains down to a select group of labels and designers to maintain its credentials: up top amongst those doing the hard work, Versace.
From iconic supermodel moments and Versus Versace collabs with contemporary kings like Christopher Kane and J.W. Anderson – through to more recent hook ups with a certain Zayn Malik – the Italian house has nearly 10 million Insta fans for a reason.
Following the anniversary of founder Gianni Versace’s untimely murder, on the steps of his Miami Beach home in 1997, over the weekend, below we reflect on seven of the house’s most fabulous moments.
Versace’s Autumn Winter RTW collection from 1991 was a flurry of bold prints, bright colour, and patent thigh highs. Yet, it wasn’t the clothes that made the show iconic as much as the models that wore them.
After Peter Lindbergh’s shot of Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington and Tatjana Patitz graced the cover of Vogue in January 1990, the term ‘supermodel’ was cemented in fashion history; following the cover, George Michael cast the models in the video for “Freedom! ‘90”, and the track would later be used for Gianni’s show finale when Naomi, Cindy, Linda, and Christy were sent arm and arm down the catwalk to sing along for a second time.
Before Austin Powers and Bedazzled, Elizabeth Hurley’s acting career had been relatively quiet. While fame was always on the cards for the actress, the Versace dress that she wore to the 1994 premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral with then boyfriend Hugh Grant certainly played a part in her success.
The dress – a seductive creation composed of black silk pinned together with oversized gold safety pins, recently recreated by Lady Gaga – received mixed responses from the media of the time. However, Hurley – later to become the face of Estee Lauder – only had positive things to say about the design: “Unlike many other designers, Versace designs clothes to celebrate the female form rather than eliminate it.” We agree.
Diamonds are Forever (and so is Kate)
Diamonds are Forever – The Millennium Celebration was a charity gala co-hosted by Versace and diamond company De Beers, held at Syon House in 1999. Among those in attendance were Catherine Zeta Jones, Hugh Grant and Prince Charles, however, most notable were the appearances of Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, whose Oroton dresses – a fabric designed to give the illusion of liquid metal by Gianni in 1982 – were the most documented elements of the whole shebang.
Moss also turned heads in the SS99 show after Donatella requested that she died her hair pink, a trend that has been consistently regenerated ever since.
The Birth of Google Images
You might remember the green silk chiffon dress that Jennifer Lopez wore to the 42nd Grammy Awards ceremony in 2000, a look that – in typical Versace style – captured the world’s attention for its ultra-revealing cut. What you might not know is that Lopez’s dress has been directly linked to the birth of Google Images.
Following the ceremony, Google revealed that the number of searches for Lopez’s dress reached the millions as the whole word seemingly took to the internet. “At the time, it was the most popular search query we had ever seen,” chairman Eric Schmidt has since said, “but we had no sure-fire way of getting users exactly what they wanted: J-Lo wearing that dress. Google Image Search was born.” And thank God it was.
The 2011 collaboration with clothing-retail company H&M gave fans an affordable alternative for the first time in the fashion house’s history. The gold-studded collection was debuted at an extravagant catwalk show in New York – an event attended by both Prince and a pineapple-adored Nicki Minaj – before selling out in minutes both in stores and online.
Items can still be found to crop up on eBay every now and again, but don’t expect to find 2011’s prices; these are collector’s items despite their humble beginnings.
Superstar rapper and former Wonderbabe, singer-songwriter M.I.A. teamed up with the house’s diffusion line in 2013 to create a capsule collection inspired by the counterfeit Versace merchandise sold at the East London markets that she visited as a teen.
Re-appropriating the garish prints and clashing logos found on the bootlegged items, M.I.A’s collection with Versus served to turn the fashion industry on its head with a vibrant series of streetwear items that have helped the brand to keep in line with the spirit of the twenty-first century.
The Show Scored by Prince
Beneath Donatella’s display of throbbing masculinity, floor-length parkas, and lustrous shades green and purple for her Spring 2017 menswear collection, was a vivid sense of the designer’s mourning for the loss of pop sensation Prince. In fact, what made Donatella’s show so special was the fact that the soundtrack was composed entirely of unreleased songs that were written and recorded by the musician especially for Donatella.