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Gianni Versace: The Unique Life of the Man Who Rewrote Fashion History

Gianni Versace: The Unique Life of the Man Who Rewrote Fashion History


Gianni Versace is a well-known rule-breaker in fashion history. Today we explore the shy but talented man whose legacy is still strong 26 years after his death.

Gianni Versace was born on 2nd December 1946; he was the middle child. His love of fashion started when his mother was a dressmaker. He was fascinated by the women his mother dressed. Later in his career, he talked about these women in his book. He said: “All the women come in, first I look at the women. I never look at the clothing she wears. I try to understand the way she moves the way she is.” This is clearly visible in the way he creates the clothes on the model. The woman wears the clothes rather than the opposite.

Versace and His Career

Gianni Versace created his clothes as a creative man with an artistic vision. He created his first dress when he was just nine years old. It was a blue one-shoulder dress that he recreated many years later for Princess Diana to wear.

As he got older, he kept working with his mother, who owned a sewing business. In the late ’60s, he became a fashion buyer. By 1978, he launched the brand we love and know today called Gianni Versace Donna. Ashtonigly, Gianni never went to fashion school or studied fashion at all. His father was against Versace’s dream of becoming a fashion designer. However, his mother was supportive of her son pursuing fashion.

By the 1990’s Versace was a household name. He dressed some of the most famous women, such as Elizabeth Hurley, in the iconic safety pin dress. That garment broke all the rules in fashion and became the most talked about dress of 1997 and of all time.

The Competition with Armani

Versace’s runway shows oozed sex appeal, glamour and opulence which Gianni was strongly passionate about.

Gianni had a competitor, Giorgio Armani, an Italian designer with a completely different style from Versace. Armani was from the North of Italy and had a minimal, classy and traditional masculine take on clothes, whereas Versace was famous for being over the top, sexy and colourful. As the two designers were very different, they sometimes even threw shade at each other.

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Anna Wintour, Editor of Vogue, compared the two designers by saying: “Versace was always sort of the mistress to Armani’s wife”.

Versace spoke about his rivalry with Armani “I dress a woman who is more beautiful, more glamorous. I love women. He, on the other hand, has a type of woman who is always a little sombre, a little dull.” This highlighted the kind of man Versace was. He was an honest yet kind man who really loved to see a woman feeling sexy and confident. This was at a time when society expected women not to be sexy and to hide their bodies.


Gianni was murdered in 1997. The devastating event affected many people all over the world. The loss of such a creative genius touched his family, his fans and many others. After Gianni’s death, his sister Donatella took over and worked hard to keep her brother’s memory alive. Versace, to this day, is still a very prominent fashion brand and is still creating trends. Versace still creates buzz, for example, when the Medusa Platform heels debuted in the Spring-Summer 21. Many celebs have rocked these shoes, especially Ariana Grande, who wore them at the opening of her brand R.E.M at Ulta Beauty. Versace may not be here physically, but his legacy continues to shine through for the next generation.


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