Gianni Versace, the
Prince of Fashion, his life was cut short during his prime. His designs are
innovative, almost risque, the genius behind them
VERSACE - A SHORT BIOGRAPHY
1946 Gianni Versace
was born in Reggio Calabria
on December 2.
1972 At the age of
25 he decides to move to Milan
and works as a fashion designer, drawing his first pret-a-porter
collections for Genny, Complice
1975 He presents his
first leather collection, created for Complice.
1978 On March 28 he presensts his first collection for Women signed with his
own name in a fashion show at the Palazzo della
Permanente, in Milan.
1979 Versace, who
has always paid great attention to his image, starts a fortunate collaboration
with the American photographer Richard Avedon.
1982 Versace wins
the first of a series of awards that will crown his career: 'L'Occhio d'Oro' for the best
fashion designer of the 1982/83 Fall/Winter collection for women; in this
collection he displays the famous metal garments, now a classic feature of his
fashion. The same year, he begins a collaboration with
the Teatro alla Scala and designs costumes for the Richard Strauss' ballet
'Josephlegende'; the stage design is by the
painter Luigi Veronesi.
1983 He creates the
costumes for Gustav Mahler's ballet 'Lieb und Leid' and on October 21, with the Comune
di Milano's patronage, the
show. 'E' Design' opens its doors at the Padiglione
di Arte Contemporanea where
Gianni Versace displays a synthesis of his technological research.
1984 Versace creates
the costumes for Donizetti's 'Don Pasquale' and for the ballet 'Dyonisos' directed by Maurice Bejart,
both held at the Teatro alla
Scala. In October, at the Piccolo Teatro
di Milano, the Belgian
choreographer creates a triptych danse in honour of the launch of the fragrance for men 'Versace
1985 In Paris, on the occasion of
the European presentation of the same fragrance, a contemporary art show is
organized, bringing together the works of internationally renowned artists
concerning Versace's fashion. Young people have always been a major source of
inspiration for Versace and on October 2, the fashion designer is at the Victoria & Albert
Museum in London to give a talk on his fashion for a
large group of students, and to illustrate the show 'Arte e moda'.
1986 A year in which
awards and shows intertwine. On January 24, the President of the Italian
Republic Francesco Cossiga confers the decoration of
'Commendatore della Repubblica Italiana' on him; the National
presents a major retrospective show on the work of Versace in the last ten
years. On October 22, in Paris, during the show
'Gianni Versace: Obiettivo Moda',
illustrating the professional collaboration between Versace and internationally
renowned photographers (Avedon, Newton, Penn, Weber, Barbieri,
Gastel, etc.), Jacques Chirac assigns the
'Grande Medaille de Vermeil de la Ville de
Paris' to Versace. On November 14, the premiere of the ballet 'La metamorphose des dieux' by Malraux is presented in Brussels. The costumes are designed by Gianni
Versace and the choreography is by Maurice Bejart.
1987 In January Bob
Wilson stages Richard Strauss 'Salome' for the Scala
and asks Versace to design the costumes; on March 31, Bejart
presents 'Leda and the Swan' at the Scala,
with costumes by Versace; on April 7, the book 'Versace Teatro' published by Franco Maria Ricci.is
presented. In June, Gianni Versace goes to Russia
in the retinue of Bejart, for whom he designs the
costumes of the 'Ballet du XX Siecle' broadcasted throughout the world from Leningrad within the programm 'The white nights of dance'. In
September Versace's huge professional contribution to the theatre is rewarded
with the 'Maschera D'Argento'
prize. On September 21, 'Souvenir de Leningrad', a ballet by Bejart's new dance company, makes its debut in Lausanne, and even on this
occasion Versace's contribution is crucial.
1988 Versace goes to
Paris to design the stage costumes for Zizi Jeanmaire's last recital at
the Bouffes du Nord; on March 30, in Brussels,
alongside Maurice Bejart, he presents the costumes
for the ballet inspired by Evita Peron in an absolute
premiere at the Theatre Royal de la Monnaie. On June
8, the jury of the 'Cutty Sark'
nominates him the most creative and innovative fashion designer for men; in
September Versace opens a 600 sqm. showroom
in Madrid, his first boutique in Spain.
On December 20 he is once again in Paris
to design the costumes for the ballet 'Java Forever', with Zizi Jenamaire, presented at the
Opera Comique to celebrate the Bicentenary of the
1989 On January 25,
the opening of the 'Atelier Versace' - a workshop where high fashion
models are created - is announced at a soiree held at the Gare
d'Orsay, attended by Madame Mitterand,
where also the film 'The fortune of friendship' recounting the
relationship between Versace and Maurice Bejart, is
presented. On April 13, the exhibition 'L'abito
per pensare', is inaugurated at the Castello Sforzesco in Milan, through historical
and social interpretations, it displays 25 years of activity in fashion and in
the theatre, a crucial stage in the evolution of the history of costume. On May
16, on the occasion of the celebration for the Bicentenary of the French
Revolution, Bejart invites him to Paris to design the costumes of the ballet
'Chaka Zulu', inspired by L. Senghor's poem. On July 6, in Milan,
Versace presents 'Versus', a new line for young people - manufactured
by the Manifatture Itierre
of the Gruppo Pantrem, -
which explores informal themes and puts itself forward as an alternative to
so-called conventional ways of dressing. On November 14 there is yet another
ballet: Bejart stages:'Elegie
pour Elle' at the Cirque Royal in Brussels,
and the Costumes are designed by Versace once again.
'Atelier' collection is presented in a fashion show at the Hotel
Ritz, Paris, in the early part of the year; in
April Versace opens his second boutique in New York,
and the eleventh in the United
States, in the prestigious Madison Avenue.
On October 21 John Cox i naugurates
the theatri ca. l s eas on
of the Opera, San Francisco, with Richard Strauss 'Capriccio' and the
costumes are designed By Versace.
l991 On January 7,
the show 'Versace Teatro' is inaugurated at
the Royal Royal College of Art in London; in March
the fragrance 'Versus' is launched and on May 14, in collaboration
with Omar Calabrese, Versace attends the presentation of the book 'Vanitas, lo stile dei sensi' in Milan. In June, a new Versace boutique is
opened in Paris,
in the famous Fbg. St. Honore.
In June, Istante and Versus open their first two
Italian stores in via San Pietro all 'Orto, in Milan;
'Signature Versace's classic line, is
launched. In October, the up-dated version of the show 'L'abito per pensare' arrives
in Japan, at the Kobe City Museum; on October 26, William Forsythe stages his
ballets at the Statische Buhnen,
Frankfurt, and Versace designs the costumes.
In December, Versace is awarded the 'L'Occhio d'Oro' prize for the fourth time, proclaiming him the
most inventive creator of the year.
1992 January, Paris: the second volume of 'Versace Teatro' comes out, published by Franco Maria Ricci: on
February 27, the fragrance 'Versus Donna' is presented at the Versus boutique in Milan; in Munich, the itinerant show
'Theater der Mode' celebrates Versace's
latest stylistic and theatrical creations. On May 28 a new Versace showroom
opens its doors: here, in a five-storey bulding
situated in the prestigious Old
Bond Street, the creative universe of the fashion
designer is displayed in all its modernity. At the end
of May, Elton John's world tour make its debut; the
singer is an ardent admirer of Versace, whom he asks to design his stage
costumes. New York,
14 September: as testimonial for the Italian Trade Commission, Gianni Versace
inaugurates the charity Gala 'Rock'N Rule',
the profits of which are given to the Amfar anti-AIDS
Association; Versace opens a new boutique at Bergdorf Goodman. In October, a
new watch was born: 'La Meduse' from the
Signature line, added to the Premiere watch collection. New York decides to organise
an important retrospective show at the Fashion Institute of Technology on the
Italian designer's work: 'Versace: Signatures'. (6 Nov - 9 Jan)
1993 On 1 February
the 'Council of Fashion Designers of America' assigns the much
coveted American Fashion Oscar award to Versace. The book 'South Beach
Stories' comes out in New York,
published by Leonardo Arte. On March 25, Maurice Bejart
stages the ballet 'Sissi, the Anarchic
Empress' at the Sadler's Wells Theatre in London, with Gianni Versace's irreplaceable
costumes. In May 'Home Signature' is launched, a line of products for
the home: table porcelain manufactured by Rosenthal, carpets, quilts and
10 November; the book 'Vanitas, Ricami e Decori - Decori e Ricami' - published
by Leonardo Arte- is officially presented at the Versus
1994 Versace is in Berlin where he opens a
600 sqm. showroom on the
famous Kurfurstendamm. New York, 30 March: Gianni Versace presents
the book 'Designs', an abridged English edition of '
Vanitas, Ricami e Decori Decori e Ricami', at Bergdorf Goodman's. Worldwide launch of
the 2 new Versace fragrances: RED & JEANS. Berlin, 15 September: Opening of the of travelling exhibition
'VERSACE SIGNATURES' at the Kunstgewerbemuseum
that will be held till November
25, 1994. This year the exhibition includes a new section dedicated
to the 'Home' line, in addition to those regarding embroideries,
timeless fashion, prints, leather, and the theater costumes. October 1994 - the
book 'L'UOMO SENZA CRAVATTA'(the man without tie) by Gianni Versace
comes out. It's the fourth volume of the Vanitas series , published by Leonardo Arte.
1995 January 17 -
Inauguration of the Richard Avedon's exhibition:
'Richard Avedon 1944-1994' sponsorised by Versace and officially hosted by the Milan
City Council in the Palazzo reale - Sala delle Cariatidi
( from January 18 to March 5). March 3 - 'How
Near Heaven', new performance of the American Ballet Theatre receives its
World Premiere at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.
Coreography by Twyla Tharp,
for whom Gianni Versace designes the marvellous costumes. May 1st, premiere at the Metropolitan
Opera House in New York
June 14. London:
Gianni Versace boutique in Old
Bond Street. Gianni Versace and Elton John party
for the Elton John Aids Foundation. Unique and signed copies of Gianni
Versace's new book 'Men without ties' will be on sale during the
party. The book doesn't go on national release until the following morning.
June 15. Booksigning of 'Men without ties' at Harrod's.
End of October - the book 'DO NOT DISTURB) by Gianni Versace comes out.
It's the fifth volume of the Vanitas series,
published by Leonardo Arte.
1997 On July, Gianni
Versace was gunned down in his South Beach home in Miami,
Florida. On July 23, 1997, the prime suspect for
Gianni Versace's killing was found dead in a Miami Beach boathouse.