Discover the unique history behind one of the world's most luxurious childrenswear brands, Gucci.
Versace | Iconic Designer
Gianni Versace was a hugely successful designer. Raised in a home surrounded by fashion, he started working for his mother, a dressmaker, upon leaving school. He is believed to have designed his first dress at the age of nine.
Following his shocking assassination in 1997, Gianni’s siblings – sister, Donatella, and brother, Santo – took over the fashion powerhouse which they had been a part of from its very inception.
Today, Versace remains at the height of the luxury fashion market.
Born in Italy in December 1946, Gianni Versace developed a love of clothing from an early age. Following in his mother’s footsteps, Gianni began working for her as soon as he finished his school education.
Aspiring for greater things, Gianni moved to Milan in 1972 and designed for a number of fashion labels before starting up his own six years later. Keeping his family ties close, his siblings were involved in the brand from the very beginning.
Versace’s designs were an instant success. Recognising the value of celebrity association, Versace made the most of his access to celebrity clients which provided his brand with international exposure in the press. Perhaps the most reviewed piece was the black dress worn by Elizabeth Hurley with gold safety pins holding it together at the sides. She wore this on the red carpet at the premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral in 1994, skyrocketing both her career as an actress and the recognition of the Versace brand worldwide.
Versace’s designs were widely photographed when worn by celebrities and supermodels. Aware of the value of these relationships, Gianni nurtured them. Many VIPs, including Princess Diana, Elton John and Madonna, wore his designs with pride, continually escalating recognition of the label and coverage in the press.
While his career was short as a result of his untimely death, Versace enjoyed huge success during the 80’s and 90’s. Within two decades he had collected a number of awards, including the highly acclaimed ‘L’Occhio d’Oro’ for Best Designer four times (1982, 1984, 1990 and 1991). At the time of his death, he had built the label’s wealth up to a value of around $807 million.
Medusa Head Logo
Beginning with simply the name as the brand logo, Gianni had the, now infamous, Medusa Head logo designed in 1993. It is believed that Medusa’s Head was chosen to represent for the fashion label its meaning rooted in Greek Mythology – that Medusa could make people fall hopelessly and permanently in love with her. The logo is found throughout the Versace collection today.
Meeting an early end, Gianni Versace was shot dead outside his home in Florida on 15th July 1997. He was just 50 years old. Crowds of celebrities gathered to attend and perform at his funeral. His brother and sister, Santo and Donatella, took over as the key figureheads in the fashion house. Donatella became the Artistic Director and Santo became the CEO.
In 1993, the brand launched their first childrenswear collection, named Versace Young. This line was discontinued in 2004, however, Donatella created a new kidswear line, Young Versace, which was launched in 2012. This has been a great success and the label is often seen being sported by celebrity children.
Versace sold 20% of the company to Blackstone in 2014. Jonathan Akeroyd was made CEO of the fashion powerhouse in 2016. In September 2018, all of the Versace family and Blackstone shares were sold to Group Michael Kors Limited. A new luxury global fashion group was formed in January 2019 by Gianni Versace S.r.l. joining Capri Holding Ltd., together with Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo.
All images by Versace
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