In the wake of infamous American footballer O.J. Simpson whose tumultuous lawsuit had the press in a frenzy for months, Ryan Murphy has chosen to portray the much mediatised 1997 assassination of Italian couturier Gianni Versace for the second season of his anthology series American Crime Story, set to commence on Canal+ on January 17th. Having made baroque glamour his trademark, Gianni Versace, accompanied by his sister Donatella and brother Santo, built a veritable fashion empire. Supermodels and celebrities, glitzy luxury and hard-hitting ad campaigns, a blanket refusal of good taste and provocative images, under the reign of Gianni Versace, “too much” was never enough.
1- Glamour and decadence, Italian fashion according to Gianni Versace
Just as Gianni Versace founded his house, Italian fashion was booming. Although often compared to Giorgio Armani, who opened in 1975, his fashion was the opposite to the minimalist tailoring of his compatriot. With the help of his sister Donatella, who was also his muse, he established a glamorous, ultra-sexy and highly colourful style that hijacked the codes of Italian culture, art and the trends of his era. A true couturier, he constructed his creations by draping them directly onto the models without patterns or sketches. Inspired as much by theatre, ballet, architecture and modern art as by the prostitutes who lined the streets of Calabria during his childhood and gay nightclubs in New York, he blithely introduced black leather, bondage references, garish colours, baroque prints, indecent lengths, slits and ultra-body-con. He mastered these codes so completely that even when he did a grunge collection for winter 1993, it oozed sensuality. Encouraged by Donatella, Gianni Versace would liberate women (and men) from the shackles of good taste. He also applied his gaudy style, symbolised by a golden Medusa head, to interior décor with his villa in Milan and mansion in Miami, to perfumes, linen and tableware. From then on, abundance of luxury and wealth had a name: Versace.
“Gianni Versace built a destiny that was the complete opposite to his humble beginnings. An intense life shared between wealth, opulence and celebrities.”