Glamour. Sexiness. Style. Since the late Gianni Versace (1946-1997) first sent a model down the catwalk, Versace has been combining rock & roll with fashion and red carpet va-va-voom.
As Donatella Versace (who took over at the helm of the fashion house, after her brother’s death) observed to Nicki Minaj in Interview, ‘Versace was – and still is – about the sophisticated woman who is elegant, not afraid of her own sensuality, and not afraid to dare or take risks in life’.
You can spot Versace at 30 paces. From the signature Medusa head to the baroque prints, the Greek fretwork patterns to gilded details, we can count on the fingers of one hand the fashion names that enjoy the widespread recognition that Versace does, across the globe. As Vogue comments: ‘Versace doesn’t make clothes that are avant-garde, arty or untouchably elegant; it makes clothes for red carpet photo calls in Cannes and parties aboard a rap mogul’s mega-yacht in Monaco’.
Designed to get flashbulbs popping, Versace‘s clothes have always been a natural choice for celebrities. When it comes to iconic red carpet moments there are so many. Most recently when J-Lo wore an updated version of the green jungle print dress and sent Instagram into overdrive. The safety pin dress worn by Elizabeth Hurley; Kylie Jenner and Kendall Jenner at the MET Gala; and not forgetting when Donatella walked hand-in-hand down the catwalk reuniting the original supermodels, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen and Carla Bruni, all wearing Versace gold chainmail gowns.
And Donatella herself? As i-d.vice.com describes her: ‘Blonde hair, high heels, nipped waist, pouting lips, luxury, decadence, design, fabulousness, airplanes, Medusa, logos, gold, body beautiful, hip hop, celebrity, hotels, money, supermodels, family, Italy, cigarettes, perma-tan, parties, ultimate glamour, ultimate everything, everything in excess: too much is never enough…’
Once upon a time, Donatella Versace was the personal mannequin for her designer brother, who experimented with cutting cloth and creating clothes at home (their mother was a dressmaker). ‘She’s nuclear,’ Santo Versace once said of his feline sister. Having worked so closely with her brother, Donatella was the perfect keeper of the Versace flame, once Gianni was gone.
Today, the collections are a celebration of Versace strength – but with a new ease, energy and delivering effortless luxury. With one eye always on modern culture and what is happening on the street, denim jackets and leather jackets become ‘the new blazer’, teamed perhaps with raffia skirts – and always, always high heels, just like Donatella’s. (She claims she doesn’t own a pair of flats, except for the odd pair of sneakers.)
But since 1981, the house of Versace has been creating fragrances, too, mirroring the collections of the design house.
We originally chose Versace Crystal Noir, for instance, from the Crystal Collection, for The Perfume Society‘s debut Discovery Box, sent out to our first 5,000 subscribers: a classic example of the Oriental category, fusing sweet and fruity top notes with exotic white florals, on a warm, sensual creamy base that almost ‘hugs’ you in its embrace. And in this sparkling line-up, we can also now enjoy Versace Crystal Noir, Bright Crystal and Yellow Diamond.
Versace Eros has become part of Versace’s scented universe, and with gilded gilded bottles and eye-catching ads (see right) – a nod to Ancient Greek mythology – they are quintessential Versace, with Eros Flame joining the original Eros. Dylan Blue Pour Homme and Pour Femme (this latter fragrance created by the legendary Calice Becker) complete the picture. As wearable as a pair of Versace jeans, for sure – and as stylish.
Serious perfumistas, meanwhile, are also seeking out the Gianni Versace Atelier Versace collection: six genderless fragrances, created with the same attention to detail as made-to-measure tailoring. Currently only to be found in only the most exclusive outlets such as Harrods and the Versace boutiques around the world, each celebrates a particular fragrance ingredient: vanilla, rose, sandalwood, white fig, cédrat and jasmine. All utterly exquisite and a joy to explore…
When it comes to perfume? Versace most definitively is the embodiment of glamour. Sexiness. Style. But bottled, in this case…