Versace’s legacy of excess

Gianni Versace rewrote the rules of the industry and became something like the Warhol of fashion. A somewhat topical phrase, but no less just for that. July 15 marks the 25th anniversary of her tragic death at her grand Miami Beach mansion, a murder that circled the globe and left the fashion industry in eternal shock.

Versace has transformed its fashion into excess. It intensifies color saturation and gives free rein to volumes. There was a much more ostentatious side to it that would eventually permeate this 90s society that hasn’t been taken away by the grungy, dark aesthetic of Marc Jacobs.

For example, the suggestive black dress full of safety pins – popularly known as “That Dress” – that Liz Hurley wore in 1994 when she accompanied her then partner Hugh Grant to the premiere of her latest film. , was designed by Versace and went straight into fashion history, marking a before and after on red carpets around the world.

Many moments of his professional career have become keys to the collective imagination. Without going any further, the show in which, in 1991, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington paraded on the catwalks to the rhythm of ‘Freedom’ by George Michael – and for which he paid a real fortune. The flesh-and-blood representation of the essence of Versace and the folkloric spirit of the decade. “Nobody does Versace better than Versace,” said the same members of Gianni’s team. Proof of this is that each suit imagined by the couturier has become a collector’s treasure over time.

Gianni dressed a powerful woman in the 90s who sent a very obvious sexual message

The Italian couturier “borrowed” ideas from various subcultures – the safety pins and tacks of punk or the urban clothes of the most streety neighborhoods – and elevated them to the luxury scene, then thirsty for stimuli. Excess, sex, gambling and power were its hallmarks. Gianni dressed a powerful woman in his own way that sent a very obvious sexual message.

Despite all this revolution, his mysterious murder obscured the memory of his figure. The morbidity engendered by fatality and the mystery of his death irreparably bloodied his work. The story goes that Gianni was on his way home from having breakfast in a cafeteria when Andrew Cunanan shot him point-blank in the neck and neck. After months of investigations, a 700-page report, 13 videos, 17 audio tapes and dozens of photographs, no cell phone could be confirmed.

In addition to the transformation of his figure into legend and the intrigues invented in the crowds – “it was a robbery”; “it was a crime of passion”; “he was a serial killer” – his name continued to make headlines due to the fierce battle for control of the legendary Italian firm.

His sister Donatella would handle the design, while Santo would handle the finances. The great heiress wanted to preserve her brother’s identity – and this is how she has endured until today – with sexy and colorful creations, but less baroque, intense and transgressive than in the past.

The morbidity generated by the fatality of his death bloodied the work of a luxury visionary

The murder plot continued to generate such a stir years later American crime history wanted to relive that tragic moment in its second season which premiered in 2018 on Netflix. A Ryan Murphy work that became the most nominated miniseries of 2018 – and won an Emmy for best miniseries – and with a star cast of Édgar Ramírez, Darren Criss, Penélope Cruz and Ricky Martin .

In short, twenty-five years later, there are still plenty of puzzles to solve (and plenty of gossip to recover).

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