When his life was cut short on a July day in 1997, Gianni Versace was a couturier globally known for his glamourous, sexy and highly-colourful aesthetic. His pure bling creations, embellished with gold Medusa heads, felt like a nod to Italian opulence and wealth. But throughout his career, the Calabrese couturier had also shone in the ballet world: he designed costumes and stage sets for shows by the biggest choreographers.
Right from the start, Gianni Versace was passionate about dance. After founding his house in 1978, he worked for La Scala, Italy’s great opera house. At this high institution of Italian culture, Gianni Versace created costumes for historical ballets: the dancers wore heavy clothes, pieces in the style of antiquity or inspired by the 18th century. Their creation was a genuine challenge because he was moving away from his usual technique of draping fabrics directly onto the models.