Behind Versace’s History With Supermodels
That’s how Richard Avedon’s book 20 Years of Versace opens – a tome which charts decades of documenting “the impassioned, shameless, opulent, titillating sew man ship of that daredevil magician of art and artifice who was and will always be Gianni Versace”. It’s an apt title, because that book showcases everyone from Kate Moss to Kristen McMenamy, Naomi Campbell to Nadja Auermann, Stephanie Seymour to Stella Tennant, wearing his iconic designs. After all, there is hardly a supermodel who Versace hasn’t had a fling with, and no house whose legacy is more intertwined with the phenomenon of the super.
Once upon a time, actresses were loath to be associated with fashion, worried that to get dressed up would detract from the legitimacy of their craft. And so, as Michael Kors once said, the super was born: “Christy and Linda and Cindy and Naomi are movie stars. They’re the pin-up girls of the Nineties.” With Amazonian limbs and flawless faces, they became known by their first names only – and it was Gianni Versace who would pay the most to have them all walk his runway together. Back then, editorial models and runway models were each considered to have their own specialities, and so were confined to a specific field – but Gianni realised the power these women held and commissioned them for print campaigns and fashion shows alike.