"That is the key of this collection, being yourself. Don't be into trends. Don't make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way to live."

Happy birthday Gianni Versace!

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Gianni Versace (December 2, 1946 – July 15, 1997) was an Italian fashion and costume designer. He produced many designs for theater and film, and was a friend of many celebrities, including Eric Clapton, Diana, Princess of Wales, Madonna, Elton John, Cher, and Sting.

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Versace was born in Reggio di Calabria, Italy. His mother was a dressmaker, and he learned her trade growing up. After he completed high school, he went to work for her.

By 1972, he moved to Milan to work as a freelance designer. He sold work to Italian labels like Genny and Callaghan, as well as Complice. He also began a longstanding professional relationship with the Girombelli family. One of his first major breakthroughs was when he mixed leather and lace.

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Soon, he launched his own collection. Both his brother and sister worked for him. He became known for certain iconic details, such as fusing leather with rubber and his use of the medusa symbol, which became his company logo.

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In 1982, his designs were used for costumes in a production of Legend of Joseph, performed at La Scala. He later designed for other productions including Richard Strauss's Josephlegende (1982), Gustav Mahler's Lieb und Leid (1983), and Bejart's Chaka Zulu (1989).

Throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, Versace's designs became used at increasingly high profile events. One of his most famous designs was a black dress held together by gold safety pins worn by Elizabeth Berkley in 1994.

Versace also developed professional relationships with Elton John, Madonna and Naomi Campbell.

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Madonna and Rupert Everett with Santo Versace, elder brother of Gianni (source)

Versace earned many awards, including the American Society of Perfumers' Living Legend award and being knighted as Commendatore della Repubblica Italiana.

Versace was openly gay; his life partner was Antonio D'Amico. The two were well known on the international party scene.

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In 1997, Versace was murdered by Andrew Cunanan in a killing spree that left five people dead, including Cunanan.

Many tributes have been made to the designer, including the film "Gianni Versace: The Reinvention of Material."

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Tuesday, 02 December 2014
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