Gianni Versace

fashion designer
Born:  Reggio Calabria, Italy

 “I am not interested in the past, except as the road to the future.
―Gianni Versace

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Fashion Designer Gianni Versace was born in 1946 in Reggio Calabria, Italy, he became victim of a cold blooded murder on the 16th July, 1997. In the early days, his mother supported the family with her small tailor shop. There, Versace learned everything about making clothes and soon he designed apparel himself, which was sold in his mother”s shop. Then, Versace acquired additional skills working in fabric procurement positions. He got his first chance to show his skills when designing a collection for Fiori Fiorentini, a Lucca, Italy based company in 1972.

In the following, Versace designed for the Italian fashion labels De Parisi, Genny (for whom he would later be working again), Callaghan, Alma, and then for Complice in 1974. The work for Complice, which he fully conceived himself marked the first occasion where his own name was included in the brand name.

In 1978, Versace opened his first boutique in Milan”s Via della Spiga, still selling other labels to complement his own collections. Soon, with the growing popularity of the Versace style, boutiques started to spread across the globe.

In 1985, Versace added the Instante label to his fashion empire. Similar in style to Versace couture, but targeted at a less affluent and younger crowd.

The Versace style has become a trademark of its own. If one seeks to characterize Versace, you can always point to Giorgio Armani. Versace is everything Armani is not. He is known for striking colours, materials, and cuts. His collections for men and women are sexy to the point of vulgarity. On first sight his work seems to reflect the typical Italian grandezza. On second sight, he seemed to draw only from those images (like the neo classicistic ornaments in his prints), pushing them to the limits, in order to question any prevailing common agreement on good taste.

When designing new products, Versace gave only a vague sketch of his ideas. Then, his assistents were responsible for transforming them into wearable garments.

Since his days as a fabric buyer, Versace enjoyed travelling. In his new creations, he incorporates the impressions he gains while travelling.

In 1997, Versace was shot to death in front of his mansion in Miami, Florida. Versace”s killer is allegedly a serial killer, who committed suicide in Miami short after Versace”s murder. In September 1997, Gianni Versace”s brother Santo Versace was announced the new CEO of the Versace holding. Gianni”s sister Donatella Versace is the new head of design. Donatella was already in a creative position, designing for the Versus label. Sole heiress of Gianni Versace is Donatella”s eleven year old daughter Allegra. Her son Daniel inherits Gianni”s collection of paintings. Part of Gianni Versace”s heritage are his lucious mansions at Lake Como, Italy, in Milan, Italy, in New York City, and the mansion in Miami were Versace was killed.

Selected Lines
Gianni Versace Couture
Versace Classic V2
GVII a men”s wear collection for the US market

Selected Awards and Recognitions
In 1989, Versace was honored by an exibition called L”abito per pensare (Clothes for thinking), which showed in Milan, Paris, London, and New York.
The Versace empire is a familly business. Until his death, Gianni Versace himself held the position of a director of his company Gianni Versace S.p.A.. His sister Donatella Versace served as vice president and was also in charge of the Versace distribution concepts. His brother Dottore Santo Versace presides together with his college friend Claudio Luti over the holding company Finanziaria Versace S.p.A. The company was supposed to go public in mid 1998. Therefore, Gianni Versace started to reconstruct to company organisation short before his death in mid 1997. It was planned to offer 25 30% of the company assets at the stock market. Since Versace”s death, the management still holds on to these plans. Gianni Versace used to own 45% of the company assets, 35% santo Versace and 20% Donatella. Since Donatella”s daughter Allegra is the sole heiress of the Gianni”s wealth, Donatella will control the majority of the comapny assets. The company will receive $21.6 million from Gianni Versace”s life insurance.

In the beginning, in 1978 the Versace business accounted for roughly $15 million of total sales. Ten years later, this number rose to $353 million. In 1994, total sales were at 1,175 billion Lira ($728 million), this figure rose in 1996 to 1,655 billion Lira ($1073 million). In 1996, sales of 854 billion Lira ($553 million) were achieved without revenues from license agreements; in 1995 684 billion Lira ($420 million). In 1994, these direct sales were only 610 billion Lira ($378 million). Pre tax profit was at 178 billion Lira ($115 million) in 1996; 13.6% up from 1995. 80% of these total sales were achieved outside of Italy. Our picture shows the regional divisions of sales contributions.

The introduction of the Versus collection to the New York designer shows in 1995 marked the beginning of an expansion of the North American business for Versace. This move was accompanied by the opening of various new stores and shop in shops in America. Around the world the Versace S.A. possesed in 1994 40 own shops, with an additional number of exclusive Versace outlets run by a Japanese partner. Versace”s own shops achieved 170 billion Lira ($105 billion) in 1995; 53% of which were achieved outside of Italy.

Since 1994, the Versace group spent 8% of direct sales or 40.8 billion Lira ($ 25 billion) annualy to promote the label. Santo Versace announced in 1997, that this amount will be significantly reduced in order to cut costs.

Production/ Licenses
Since the early days of its business in 1978, the Versace group had licensed the production of men”s and women”s apparel to the well known Italian textile and apparel manufacturer Ermenegildo Zegna.

After Versace”s death the Versace familly is quoted, business will continue as planned. Except from the fact, that Dontella Versace will take over the design part, the company will hold on to its strategies. Since the increases in profits are much more moderate than the sales increases, the company has annouced a cost cutting program.