Written by Lucy Oben-Pepra.
Giovanni Versace (2nd December 1946-15 July 1997) was an Italian fashion designer and founder of Versace, an international fashion house that produces accessories, fragrances, make-up, home furnishings, and clothes. He also designed costumes for theatre and film.
Versace was strongly influenced by ancient Greek history, which dominates the historical landscape of his birthplace, and he was also influenced by Andy Warhol’s art and aesthetics. Fast forward in time, and his love for Greek history is very apparent in his designs, colour and prints.
Versace began an apprenticeship at a young age, at his mother’s sewing business, which employed a dozen seamstresses. Later on at the age of 26 he moved to Milan to work in fashion design, taking his passion and love for Design and Fashion further.
After opening his Milan boutique in 1978, Versace instantly became a sensation and name on the international Fashion scene. His designs and aesthetics conveyed vivid colours, bold prints and flirty cuts which was something extremely rare at the time.
A saying became current referencing Versace’s famous rivalry with Giorgio Armani: “Armani dresses the wife, Versace dresses the mistress”.
Versace was shot and killed on 15 July 1997, at the age of 50, on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion as he returned from a morning walk on Ocean Drive.
This month marks the 22nd anniversary of Versace’s devastating assassination, but his fashion legacy will most certainly live on.