History of Versace Clothing

Allegra and Donatella Versace

Photo: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

From the iconic black dress held together by gold safety pins that Elizabeth Hurley wore to the premiere of "Four Weddings and a Funeral" to the infamously scandalous "jungle dress" that Jennifer Lopez wore to the 2000 Grammys, Versace has been breaking ground on the forefront of fashion with its innovative sexy sophistication. The Versace Group is made up of the fashion lines: Gianni Versace Couture, Versace Jeans Couture, VERSUS and Versace Collection. In addition to clothing and accessories, it also operates a hotel, the Palazzo Versace and the Versace Home Collection. At one time, there was also the Versace Sport line, but it ended in 2008 due to counterfeiting of the line, damaging the image of Versace Group.

The Beginning of the Line and Ownership

The first Versace boutique was opened in Milan's Via della Spiga in 1978 and quickly began to gain popularity. Today, Versace has become one of the world's leading international fashion houses. The Versace Group designs and distributes luxury clothing, shoes, handbags, jewelry, watches, makeup, fragrances and home furnishings under the various brands of the company. Gianni Versace was shot and killed on the doorstep of his Miami home on July 15, 1997. After Gianni's death, his sister Donatella Versace, formerly a company vice president, became the creative director of Versace and his older brother Santo Versace became the company's CEO. Donatella's daughter Allegra Versace owns 50 percent of the company since her 18th birthday in 2004 as wished by Gianni in his will. Today, Allegra has the final say on sales and other major details in the Versace clothing line.

Versace Couture

Gianni Versace Couture is made up of high-end, often handmade apparel, jewelery, watches, perfume and cosmetics. Customarily, this is the House's main line and traditionally the only line presented on the runway at Milan's fashion week, but this has not rigidly been the case in recent years. Couture dresses in this line may cost around $10,000 and suits cost about $5,000. Donatella Versace heads this line and designs an ample number of the pieces.

Versace Collection

In 1991, the Versace label began Versace Collection, the second high-end line of the group. The Collection was initially intended exclusively for men focusing on formal styling and fashion appeal. In 2009, Donatella Versace, launched the Versace Collection for Women. The Versace Collection logo features the half Medusa, recalling the iconic image of Maison Versace.

Versace Jeans Couture

Versace Jeans Couture is a casual clothing line focusing on high-end denim and Gianni Versace print shirts. Compared to the other Versace lines, it is readily available and more affordable, but it is almost completely discontinued in the United States. This line is distributed in 56 boutiques and flagship stores, and 1,800 multi-brand points of sale, including Internet-based shops.

VERSUS

VERSUS was a fashion-forward collection that Gianni Versace devised with a rock 'n' roll spirit in mind. In 2009, Donatella Versace decided to bring back the line with the help of British designer Christopher Kane. On the Versace website, Donatella Versace states, "Christopher has shown that he has talent and his design sensibility is in tune with the original spirit of versus, so he was the perfect choice."

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