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Brand Research Hrรถnn Blรถndal Birgisdรณttir


“Today, under the leadership of Donatella Versace, just as in the

eighties and nineties when the brand was run by her brother, Gianni, Versace is a universal symbol of all that is glamorous and decadent.�



History 5 The Creative Directors 6 Timeline 7-10 The evolution of versace 11-18 competitors 19-20 Brand Analysis & target group 21-24 Bibliography 26

Design Management IED Lev.4 Fashion Marketing & Communication


HISTORY Gianni Versace was born in Calabria, Italy in 1946. His mother was a dressmaker and he started working at her atelier at an early age, despite his fathers attempt at pursuing him to go to a technical school. He never studied fashion design but his interest and talent in it was clear since he was very young and he learned by observing his mother’s designing and fitting. Only nine years old, he designed his first dress. At 25, Gianni moved to Milan to pursue a career in fashion, he started working for Florentine Flowers, then with De Parisini of Santa Margherita where he designed summer wear, which was very successful. He did work for some more fashion houses and soon became well known within the fashion community. In 1987 he launched the first women’s collection, under his own label. The following year, he launched his first menswear collection. Most would agree that the 80’s were the golden era of Versace. The brand became one of the most successful in the world and very popular especially with celebrities. With sexy silhouette conscious designs, bold patterns in vibrant colors, embellishment details and statement accessories, Gianni’s love of theater and costuming could often been seen in his designs.

Gianni Versace with Elton John

He became known for dressing film stars and music celebrities, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Grace Jones, Sting, George Michael, and Eric Clapton are just few of the names of who he dressed. Versace’s fast growing popularity allowed him to expand into other product lines which he did by launching his first fragrance in 1981. The brand developed several licensing agreements for lifestyle products, both home and fashion accessories, including sunglasses by Color Optics, neckwear by Ermenegildo Zegna, and watches by Franck Muller, a rug collection, and a line of porcelain dishes printed with the patterns and designs from the fashion collections. Gianni also designed costumes for several theater productions. On July 15th 1997, at age 51, Gianni Versace was shot outside his mansion in Miami. The following year, The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of New York, held an exhibition of Gianni Versace's creations and in late 2002, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London held a wonderful retrospective exhibition of Gianni Versace's most memorable gowns, both exhibitions were a great success.

Elizabeth Hurley in Versace, 1994

1992 Bondage Collection


Donatella Versace took over as creative director after her brother’s death in 1997. 13 years his senior, like Gianni, Donatella never had any technical training, but followed her brother into the fashion world and started working with him from the mid 70‘s. The two were very close and Gianni considered her as his muse.

THE CREATIVE DIRECTORS Gianni & Donatella Versace

Two years prior to his tragic death, Gianni had been diagnosed with cancer so he had already persuaded his sister Donatella to take a stronger role in the company. She had been an image consultant, responsible for the extravagant runway productions, fashion show parties, and advertising campaigns as well as designing the junior Versus label. Today she is still the creative director as well as president of the board, and executes the collection by staying true to Versace’s philosophy. By most people who met him, Gianni was described as a flamboyant and extravagant personality. He was an extremely talented designer and created a large archive of patterns, cuts and designs, that still today are essential to keeping the brand’s recognizable style. Gianni was also marketing genius, his way of presenting the brand was very creative and original, he was the first to send blue jeans down the runway in a couture show and his way of using celebrities as testimonials for the brand was really innovative at the time. “He

was the first to realize the value of the celebrity in the front row, and the value of the supermodel, Spring 1993 He relished media attention and masterminded it, and everybody followed in his footsteps” Anna Wintour, 1997

Since taking over, Donatella has kept the brand’s image strong, she relaunched Versus, as well as the fine jewelry and home collections. In many ways, she has similar marketing techniques as Gianni, using famous faces for promoting the brand and in the campaigns, instead of unknown models and she has also designed clothes for many A-list celebrities and performers. 6

TIMELINE 1978 ! ! !

The brand is founded by Gianni Versace & The first Versace boutique ! ! !

was opened in Via della Spiga in Milan. The womenswear collection was launched in march and the first menswear in september.

1979 "

Gianni Versace teams up with Richard Avedon for his first fashion


photography campaign.


1981 ""

The first fragrance is launched.


Gianni Versace’s first exhibition in the U.K was held at the Victoria &

" " ! !

Albert museum. He was awarded The Silver Mask Award for his contribution to the theatre. He also won his first L'Occhio d'Oro award for the best fashion designer for his Fall/Winter collection.

" " ! !

1986 "

Gianni Versace is the first designer to be awarded the “Grande


Medaille Devermeil De La Ville De Paris” by Jacques Chirac.


1989 "

The first couture collection is launched & an atelier is opened in Paris.


The Versus collection is launched.


1990 "

Atelier Versace is shown on the runway for the first time.

1991" "

All the top models walk down the catwalk for Versace’s Fall collection.


Versace shot by Richard Avedon

Versace Fall 1991 - The supermodel phenomenon begins

Gianni Versace & The supermodels



The famous “bondage” collection is launched.

1993 "

Gianni Versace is awarded the first American Fashion Oscar


by the CFDA in New York.


1995 "

The first Versus fashion show is held in New York.

1997 "

Gianni Versace is murdered on July 15th & his sister Donatella


took over as creative director.


2000 "

Palazzo Versace, a 6 star resort, is opened on the Australian


Gold Coast" Jennifer Lopez wears the famous “jungle” dress, to the Grammys.


2004 "

Donatella Versace receives the Bambi for fashion award.

2006 "

Versace Sport is launched.


Donatella Versace is voted designer of the year


by GQ Germany.



Donatella, teaming up with Christopher Kane, reintroduced


the Versus line.


2011 "

Versace teams up with H&M for a capsule collection.


Versus by Christopher Kane, 2009

Versace for H&M


Fall 1989


Spring 1991


Fall 1991

Spring 1992


FALL 1994



Gianni was inspired by movies, art, music and theatre and often designed stage costumes and outfits for performers. He was not afraid of being vulgar or excessive and he would mix together different types of bright prints and patterns. The collections often included printed pants and leggings, miniskirts, and large statement accessories and stunning gowns that Versace is still known for today. He also played with different textures, mixing silk, fur and leather, the cuts embraced the woman silhouette, making the most classic garments look sexy. The young, fun and glamorous spirit of the brand was reflected in the campaigns and advertisements, especially in the 90‘s, they portrayed a certain attitude and personality that the brand was known for. The styling was very sexy and the models would often pose in a provocative way. Gianni was a pioneer, the vision he had for his brand was the personality and image of the brand was not just about the clothes but also the whole glamour lifestyle, which the designer enjoyed himself.


Fall 2000


Spring 2004


Spring 2010

Spring 2012





Since taking over as creative director, Donatella

has kept the brand’s philosophy but evolved the style of the collections, making them more in tune with the modern days. She uses the techniques of mixing together different textures and prints but often in a more subtle way than Gianni did in the 80’s, bringing a sensibility to the brand. The brand has had it’s up’s and down’s since Gianni’s passing, but in the past 6-7 years the collections have only been getting better. Today, Versace is still very linked to the celebrity world and it’s all about the glamourous, sexy cuts and shapes. The miniskirts and dresses are very common in the collections.


MAIN COMPETITORS BLUMARINE Italian brand founded by Anna Molinari and her husband Gianpaolo Tarabini in 1977. Like Versace, the brand has a boutique in Via Della Spiga in Milan and has a similar target group concerning age and income. The style of Blumarine is glamourous but not as young and modern as Versace.

MOSCHINO Also an Italian brand founded in 1983, Moschino has, like Versace designed outfits for performers such as Kylie Minogue and Madonna. The brand has a very young style, a lot of statement pieces and bold accessories but less of the “Versace style� glamour.


DOLCE & GABBANA Founded in 1985, the Italian brand, presents a very glamourous style, using bold prints and beautiful cuts. Although not too similar style wise, Dolce & Gabbana is appealing to a similar target group as Versace.

EMILIO PUCCI The Italian brand, founded in 1947, often has a recognizable style and is known for geometric prints and bright colors. The founder, Emilio Pucci, who passed away in 1992, leaving the company to his daughter, created a large collection of prints. And like Versace, the new collections still mostly feature the designer's original bold prints or new designs but in his distinct style.



is one of the leading

international groups in the fashion and luxury goods business. Known for extremely glamorous designs, the brand is very well established with a philosophy and style known around the world. Despite of course having some competitors, Versace has a strong position within the market and clear image that Gianni and Donatella have created with their unique vision of fashion, not only being designers, but geniuses in marketing and public relations.

BRAND ANALYSIS Target Group Analysis & Brand Placement


addition to the ready-to-wear men and

women collections, the Versace group produces fine jewelry, eyewear, accessories, watches, perfumes and a home line, as well as the three diffusion lines: Versus, Versace Collection and Versace Atelier, the couture line. Gianni Versace launched the fine jewelry line in 1989 which today is available in the Versace boutiques and exclusive jewelry retailers. The home collection was originally designed and launched by Gianni in 1993, and the first Versace Home Boutique was opened in Milan in 2008. Versus is a younger line, which started in 1989 and was discontinued in 2005, until 2009 when Donatella teamed up with Christopher Kane for a capsule collection and reintroduced the line for Spring 2010. Christopher Kane continued the collaboration with Donatella until leaving the brand in late 2012. It has been announced that a reinvented Versus line will be introduced in March or April 2013. Versace Collection was initially intended for men and focused on the American market, but it’s popularity quickly spread around the world and today the line is produced for both men and women and distributed through boutiques and multi brand outlets throughout the world. Versace also has a strong position within the perfume market, the brand has introduced several fragrances, for both men and women, since 1981, many of which have been a great success with almost every age group. Versace Atelier



was born with an innate creative approach, with a strong focus on innovation, flair and the unconventional. An artistic force that takes present fashion forward, anticipating new trends and embracing challenge." Gianni Versace

Versus 2012 Fall Collection

One of Versace’s most successful fragrances, Bright Crystal



There are currently around 100 Versace boutiques

around the world, most of which have been recently renovated to the modern style of the brand. The oldest boutique is in Via Della Spiga Milan and the most recently opened ones are in Dubai, Beijing, Jeddah, Rome and Mumbai. The collections are also sold in selected multi-brand and department stores around the world. The online store,, offers both man and woman collections, Versace home, as well as the perfumes and accessories. Versace and Versus are also available on selected online retailers such as Net-A-Porter.

The Versace online store

The website


THE TARGET GROUP The target group of

Versace concerning age, is quite wide, which is another strength of the brand. The style is young but offers a lot of classic glamourous garments, and ever since it’s huge popularity in the 90’s, a lot of customers have remained loyal to the brand so in a way the target group has grown along with the brand itself. The brand addresses the needs of confident individuals that wish to dress in a luxurious and sexy way and are not afraid to be a little excessive. Versace womenswear/menswear appeals to men & women aged 25 and up to 45/50. Versus, has a younger target group, of women aged 20-35.




Books & Magazines Versace - Universe of Fashion, by Richard Martin Gianni Versace, by Richard Martin Vogue V Magazine


Versace research  

Brand research on Versace

Versace research  

Brand research on Versace