Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gianni Versace Essay

Gianni Versace Essay

Art excited Gianni Versace. He responded as a connoisseur, enthusiast, collector and designer. From among all the roles he took in relation to art, Versace the disgner was the most well known and stimulated by art.

While Versace's historical episodes depended on a respect for art history, the specific interest in collecting and his fascination of art came from artists such as Gustav Klimt, Robert Delaunay, Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol and Jim Dine. When Versace was challenged by one of the artists he adored and whose motifs he used in his works, Versace replied that art was for everyone, for sharing, and for the lengthening of pleasure. His views on art were evident in his works and his life through his keen sense of collaboration with ballet and opera and his profound gratitude to the image-makers that led him to support photographic exhibitions and publications.

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If Versace were to be placed in a frame, I would put him in the cultural frame, as much of his designs he follows and abides by his beliefs and culture. There are even times where he includes Mary into his designs, however with some of his works, he could fall into the post-modern frame. For example, his plastic couture dress he created as plastic was an unrefined material in the 1960's not to be used for ready to wear garments.

Economic Data
The Versace Empire is a family owned business. Until Gianni's death, he held the position himself of a director, where his sister Donnatella Versace served as a vice president and was also in charge of the Versace distribution concepts. Gianni Versace began to reconstruct to company organization short before his death in 1997- it was planned to offer 25%-30% of the company assets at the stock market, and even though Gianni has passed away now, his plans are still being followed today.

In the beginning, in 1978 the Versace business accounted for roughly $15million of total sales. This number shot through to $353 million in ten years time and continued to rise in the many years that passed them by where in 1996, the figure rose to $1065 million. 80% of the sales were made outside of Italy surprisingly as shown in the diagram below.

The introduction of the Versus collection to the New York designer shows in 1995 marked the beginning of a great expansion of the North American business for Versace. This move was accomplished by the opening of various new stores and malls in America.

In Harper's Bazaar's of July 1977, an advertisement proclaims "Gianni and Milan. Here and very now. . . A total extravagance." Versace was, as always designing the most confident clothing of his time.

Although Versace became internationally pre-eminent as the designer of shameless sexuality, combined with a strong sense of personal grace, he still remained very much a great Italian designer. He was true to the materials of his culture. His design of the gladiator boots in the 1990's were not a malicious misogyny as some stated, but were a means of entering Roman history and romance- of being part of the historical novel of the Roman world in which women seized real power from men.

Versace's designs for men in leather are not typical where they are bikers, bar-boys are "Village People": they are models of epic masculinity where his metallic colours used come out of his fanatical classicism reinforced by his abiding sense of the colourful pageantry of the Renaissance. His Atelier Versace woman's ensemble of full studded motorcycle jacket worn over a studded silk crepe blouson top and pleated skirt was accompanied by large metallic belts and collars. In the era where women seeked urbane armour, Versace created a symbol of authority that is also stylish. In fact, you could say that what he created was a sensual contemporary woman, who despite wearing a short skirt had the powerful authority as the menswear did.

The male counterpart to the Atelier line wore a black leather outfit. The Versace man, similarly to the Versace woman, was presented as exquisitely sexy in clothing. Versace's simple philosophy in which he believes in is the reason why others may not recognise the sensibility of his work I believe, meaning when Versace is minimal, his reduction is forced to the public eye.

Silk was another essential in Versace's works. Although he may have splashed silk with South Beach motifs, Pop art graphics and other contemporary colour schemes, he was aware of its fundamental value and its ability to convey rich colour on a flexible field.

The Italian Renaissance was not only an archetype of fashion for Versace, but also a model for life. He aspired to Medici aesthetics, where his synthesis was not only in clothing with distinct colours, but also in his intellectual cultivation of a neo-Platonism. His ever-present Medusa is not a label in the fashion sense, but a sign of the Renaissance tradition. He understood quite clearly that fashion operated from a visual pleasure, where with the combination of luxury and utility, made clothing both beautiful and practical.

To the vocabulary of sportswear Versace brought the rhetorical flourish of sex: loose pyjamas, tight cigarette pants, leggings etc. Colour and pattern were hallmarks of his achievements, where as a colourist was unafraid to try different things and experiment with many materials. The fact is, anyone who dared to wear his designs, were in danger if being over-the-top and overdressed, but he knew- like any great artist- that pleasure resided in aesthetic risks and new fashion existed only by a dint if aesthetic innovation. Thus, Versace's supposedly wild aspect was not a teasing lack of discrimination, but rather a determination that pushed fashion towards the new and adventuresome.

He also made apparent that he dignified to contemporary culture, and never conformed to traditional fashion etiquette, preferring the appreciation of the culture at the time. This gave his works an urgent connection between people and his designs, which is what today's fashion may be lacking.

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