For the past 40 years, Versace has been one of the most popular luxury brands in the fashion world. They manufacture and sell red carpet clothes and accessories worn by iconic personalities in the fashion world.
If we agree that luxury fashion revolutionized the world, then we must agree that Versace revolutionized luxury fashion! The brand doesn’t only make unique items but also has an outstanding way of marketing its collections and building high-end connections.
It’s so unique that When you wear it, everyone knows it. Today, the name of the brand and its powerful logo has become synonymous with luxury, style, elegance, and boldness.
The family-run business is the inspiration of all fashion brands; they’ve always designed unique clothes that are classy looking and funky; not only that, their sense of style is breathtaking. But then, the big question is, what made Versace the most popular fashion statement and their logo so iconic? This piece covered all you need to know about the luxury brand. Grab a chilled juice, as it’s going to be fascinating.
The brand was founded in 1978 by Gianni Versace under the name Gianni Versace Donna.
Gianni grew up in Reggio Calabria, where he spent his early years working for his mom, a seamstress. He started to fall in love with fashion and design. He made his first dress at the age of nine – it was a blue one-shoulder gown that was later recreated for Princess Diana, about 40 years later.
Though Gianni didn’t study fashion design, he is far more talented than those in the field. At age 26, he moved to Milan to start his fashion design career; by 1972, he had already designed collections for three brands, including “Byblos,” a youth line of popular fashion brand Genny.
In 1978, Gianni owned his first Versace Boutique in Milan’s most famous shopping street, Via Della Spiga. At that time, Gianni was the only brand designer – this gave him the chance to control every aspect of Versace and give it his dream vision in every aspect – from design to marketing and building connections.
During the first years, Versace only sold designer garments, but in 1982, they expanded their offerings and started making clothing accessories, furniture, and other products under the Versace brand name.
The Medusa – Versace Iconic Logo
Gianni chooses to design his logo because he is both a designer and a businessman. Growing up in Italy, the designer was already acquainted with the artworks of the Greeks. He claimed to have gotten the inspiration for his logo from the artwork on the floor of the Rome Ruins, where he used to play with his siblings. He said that he chose Medusa, seeing how people love her endlessly, and hoped his customers would fall in love with Versace that way.
The tale of Medusa is a lesson against lust and pride. Athena severely punished her after seducing Poseidon that merely seeing her can turn men into stone. However, this is ironic to the Versace style of today, which is more alluring yet powerful.
However, Gianni Versace unveiled the brand’s first logo in 1980, which featured his name; later, in 1993, he revealed the famous Medusa logo, which has become synonymous with the brand’s level of style and luxury.
Today Medusa is the ideal symbol representing the Versace brand; However, modifications have been made to the borders and lettering on the logo, but the famous face of Medusa, which is beautiful yet frightening, remains the same.
When Gianni started Versace, he was already friends with renowned personalities in the Music industry, like Naomi Campbell, Elton John, members of Duran Duran, e.t.c. Many people started noticing the brand after these high profiles started rocking Versace garments to photo shoots and awarding ceremonies. A unique thing Gianni Versace brought to the fashion industry is linking Fashion with Music – this got a lot of priceless rewards to the brand. Suddenly, everyone wants to wear what Naomi Campbell wears to an award ceremony or that which Elton John rocked. Before you know it, Versace has started building a solid customer base.
Gianni was the first designer to realize that having strong personalities on the front row and professional models as the muse caught the media’s attention like nothing else. This slowly became a trend, and till today, that’s what all fashion brands are following.
When Gianni saw the brand becoming more popular, he expanded the offerings into other product lines in 1981.
Versace got several licensing agreements for lifestyle products like fashion accessories, home products, neckwear, sunglasses, watches, and a line of porcelain dishes that hahaha patterns and designs of iconic fashion collections. He later started costumes for a theatre production.
Sadly, the mastermind behind Versace lost his life on July 15, 1997, at 51, due to a gunshot.
Donatella Francesca Versace
After the assassination of Gianni, when the brand was at its peak of popularity, his sister Donatella took over the brand as a creative director. Even during his lifetime, she played a significant role in developing and merging the luxury brand with the music industry.
Like Gianni, she didn’t study fashion, but she has been working with her brother since the early 1970s. They were very close that Gianni once said she was his first muse.
After his assassination, she got to know he was diagnosed with cancer. He had already persuaded her to take a more significant role in the development of the brand, and she has been working tirelessly as an image director, overseer of fashion parties as well as running campaigns for smaller labels.
Until today, Donatella is the creative director of Versace and has managed to keep the brand’s identity just as Gianni left it – original, powerful, seductive, and bold. She also understands that she needs to control the brand’s recognition. Therefore, she continues designing garments for high-profile celebrities like Jennifer Lopez.
Versace is still a trendy brand perceived as an integral part of the celebrity world. One of its most iconic designs is low neckline dresses and miniskirts found in almost all Versace collections.
The brand still strongly connects with influential personalities like Tina Turner, Elton John, Princess Diana, and recently, Michelle Obama, who rocked a Versace garment for her final state dinner.
Today, you’ll find about 130 Versace boutiques worldwide working hard to add to the legacy and recognition of the brand. Their most recent boutiques are in Rome, Jeddah, Mumbai, and Dubai.
Versace’s Most Famous Dresses
One thing we all know about Versace dresses is that their designs will always bring elegance and bold silhouette to whoever wears them. Undoubtedly, the Versace family has changed the image of femininity in the fashion industry and the world. Thanks to Donatella Versace for ensuring the Versace brand maintains its rightful place at the fashion industry’s top.
Let’s look at some of the most famous Versace dresses that wear rocked by some high-profile personalities:
1. Cindy Crawford’s red Versace dress, 1991
The first on our list is the red plunge Versace dress worn by popular model Cindy Crawford at the 63rd Academy Awards on March 25, 1991.
The long evening dress features beautiful straps and a plunging neckline which adorably fits nicely on the body of the sexy model.
In 2008, Debenhams conducted a poll, and this dress was chosen as the 12th best dress seen on the red carpet of all time.
The dress was also ranked among the top 10 best attire to appear on the red carpet by The Now Celebrity News & Style magazine.
All thanks to Donatella for her fantastic sense of style, In 2010, Offerssupermarket ranked Crawford’s red Versace dress as the 10th most memorable dress of the last half-century.
2. Princess Diana’s Versace dress, 1991
Did you just read Princess Diana? Yes! The Nobel lady wore a long ice blue dress created by Gianni Versace in 1991 for a photoshop taken by a renewed photographer of the time, Patrick Demarchelier. The beads and jewel-adorned dress caused a lot of media sensation. They were later used as the cover of the Harper’s Bazaar newspaper as a dedication to the mysterious loss of Princess Diana.
In 2015, this Iconic dress was auctioned at a huge amount of $200,000, which is more than five times its original value.
3. Donatella Versace’s MET Gala Versace dress, 1996
In 1996, Donatella Versace wore a breathtaking designer dress to the MET Gala. The iconic dress was designed by the late Gianni, according to the TV series, The Assassination of Gianni Versace. The bold and alluring design of the dress traveled worldwide and became the talk of fashionistas at that time. Today, the MET Gala Versace dress is still considered one of the most iconic dresses in the fashion industry.
4. Jennifer Lopez’s Jungle Versace dress, 2000
On February 23, 2000, renowned American entertainer Jennifer Lopez wore an alluring green silk chiffon dress that Versace designed for the 42nd Grammys award.
Popularly known as the jungle dress, the gown was fully decorated with a beautiful tropical motif. Its deep neckline reaches a few centimeters above the navel, then ends with a flower-shaped brooch. The dress has an open slit; then, they are left open. It is one of the most popular red carpets dresses ever worn.
5. The Gianni Versace S.r.l.40th Anniversary Dress
In 2018, during the 40th Gianni Versace S.r.l 40th anniversary, a group of celebrities, including Naomi Campbell, Carla Bruni, Linda Evangelista, and Cindy Crawford, wore the stylish Oroton metal mesh design, which was made from a hard metal mesh covered silk. This dress remained a media sensation for quite a long time due to its bold and unique design.
Gianni Versace built a luxury fashion home from scratch. From a small boutique in Milan to a large brand with over 130 boutiques worth $180 Million, Versace is a success story.
The brand is still as Gianni wants it to be Half Royalty and Half Rock and roll – while maintaining the bold, luxury, and style with its iconic medusa logo.