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Swiss Fashion DG

How the Versace brand became a key player in luxury fashion and bags

Founded by Gianni Versace, Versace is the very symbol of Italian luxury. Born in 1946 in Reggio Calabria, the young designer developed his passion for fashion in his mother's tailor shop. He created his own brand in the late 1970s and eventually became known as the emperor of Italian fashion.

Born into a modest family, Gianni Versace set out to conquer the Italian fashion capital at the age of 26. Passionate about fashion from an early age, he worked for several years as a freelance stylist. He joined several Italian ready-to-wear houses such as Callaghan, Complice and Genny.

In 1978, Gianni Versace founded his eponymous fashion house in Milan and opened his first boutique on Via Della Spiga. His clothes are shamelessly sexy and bold, celebrating the female form and encouraging women to express their personality. From the start, the founder surrounded himself with loyal allies. He called on his brother, Santo, to serve as general manager, and considered his sister Donatella his muse.

The Italian fashion giant, known for its Medusa head logo, is now one of the few family-owned haute couture houses in the industry.

This allows them to maintain their own unique and personal creative vision.

The brand enjoyed unprecedented success in the 1980s and 1990s.

The label became international and Gianni Versace found himself at the head of an empire that was acclaimed by the stars. The opening of boutiques multiplied internationally and the house developed its brand beyond ready-to-wear.

In 1991, the brand unveiled its first autumn-winter haute couture collection in Paris, called Atelier Versace. The brand continued to expand internationally and opened its first shop outside Italy in 1991.

With over 1500 shops worldwide, Versace's expansion seems unstoppable and some of its luxury bags are real investments.

Indeed, collectors buy these bags with the sole vision of reselling them a few years later at a higher value.

Seductive, sultry, provocative, these are the characters associated with the Versace woman. Symbolised by a sultry all-black silhouette, the brand upsets the codes of haute couture with its daring and ostentatious fashion of opulent glamour.

A creative vision that attracts the biggest international stars, turning the brand's clothes into a jet set uniform.

Gianni Versace was well known for his relationships with celebrities and the world of show business. For his first show, the Italian broke the mould of the social catwalk by bringing in Carla Bruni, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington. This marked the beginning of a new era in the fashion world. Supermodels took the place of top models, and the biggest brands were snapping up the star models of the 1990s.

The brand's unexpected and provocative style has been popular with celebrities such as Princess Diana, Elton John and Madonna.

Versace is also a family saga and emblematic of the world of fashion and the jet set. Indeed, few fashion houses have experienced as many ups and downs as Versace. In 1997, the fashion world was shaken by the tragic murder of Gianni Versace in Miami.

Despite this tragedy, the Italian empire maintained its global reputation for several decades. Donatella Versace took over the reins of the house as artistic director. She brought a new energy to the brand while perpetuating the brand's signature mix of colours and materials.

Following the tragic death of her brother, Donatella Versace succeeded him as artistic director. Having been both Gianni Versace's muse and confidante, she continues to honour her brother's legacy 20 years after his death. She dressed Jennifer Lopez in a long, flowing green dress at the 2000 Grammy Awards. This green dress became one of the fashion house's signature dresses and propelled the label to the top.

In 2012, the brand made a comeback at Haute Couture Week after an eight-year hiatus.

It is now a true icon of Italian fashion and is known around the world as the empire of luxury.

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