In the past, people were born royal. Nowadays, royalty comes from what you do. Gianni Versace
From a distance watching this man was akin to watching a prince proceed towards his coronation. There was no swagger, no bravado, not a hint of an air of superiority. There was simply majesty. The difference being: superiority is taught, majesty comes from more than a lesson. Kings and queens must be groomed. He just had “it.” Detractors and praisers alike simply acknowledge that there was something about him that was there from day one.
It could have been the humble beginnings. He was born in Reggio, Calabria, in the south of Italy to Antonio, an appliance salesman, and Francesca, a dressmaker and store owner. It could have been the fact that he knew from a very young age that he wanted to be a fashion designer. Later, his sister Donatella would say that no one thing formed her brother Gianni. It was an amalgam of things. It could have started from seeing chic women come in to his mother’s store. Becomming a fabric buyer early on in his career to learn the fashion business from the bottom up might have contributed. There was the fact that he was fulfilling a dream when he designed for major labels (albeit under different aliases). All these things contributed and more.
His first pret-a-porter collections came while he was in Milan. It was designed for Genny, Complice and Callaghan. But designing under different aliases simply would not do. Versace the name first arrived in a collection for Complice.
Steady success followed and in 1978 Versace opened his first boutique in Milan’s Via della Spiga. The boutique proved to be a stepping stone for the designer. Versace’s boutiques became synonymous with high fashion. Celebrities would flock to him for the latest creations. Elton John would call and Versace would greet the famous singer simply by saying “Bitch” and John, in return, would reply “Bitch.”
Supermodels loved his designs and it showed. His famous March 1991 show featured Christy Brinkley, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell walking down the runway all at once. His designs ranged from the colorful signature shirts to the litany of outrageous dresses. Versace reportedly once told Giorgio Armani “You dress elegant women. You dress sophisticated women. I dress sluts.”
It was the life that he lived. The majestic life.