It’s been 20 years since the brutal slaying of fashion designer Gianni Versace.
At the time of his death, Versace was at the peak of his success. Boutiques all over the world, access to only the top supermodels, famous and very rich. The name Versace became synonymous with ultra glamour. That Italian aesthetic of more is more. Having grown up with a mother who was a seamstress, Gianni Versace was skillful in his craft. At 26, Versace began his fashion journey after moving to Milan to follow a career in fashion. Italian clothing manufacturer Genny gave him his first job, tapping him to design a youthful collection called Byblos.
Towards the late 70’s, Gianni Versace created the first collection for his eponymous label. He used his past studies in Greek history to inspire his collections and even the Medusa head logo. He showcased collections throughout the 80’s, however it seems that he found his creative niche in the 90’s as his designs were such a pivotal part of the decade. On one side you had his wild, vivacious and colorful clothes which were a favorite of rappers like Biggie Smalls and Puff Daddy. On the other side, Versace had it’s ‘fetishy’ clothes. Black with buckles and sometimes only being held together with safety pins.
His collections were heavily used in editorials for Vogue as well as other international fashion magazines. Throughout Gianni’s success, he was always close with his younger sister Donatella. In the 70’s, Donatella acted as muse and critic for the house. In 1989, Gianni Versace started Versus, which was a diffusion line for the house of Versace. He looked to non other than his sister as creative director.
The duo worked side by side until July 15, 1997 when Gianni Versace was murdered on the front steps of his Miami Beach mansion. Upon his death, Donatella took the reigns as creative director for the house where she was met with much criticism by the fashion press about her design capabilities. Twenty years later, Donatella is herself an icon, having successfully carried on the legacy of her brother, which would have certainly made him proud.