BERLIN — Gold snake jeans, bondage dresses, silk jodhpurs: More than 100 outfits created by Gianni Versace are going on show in Berlin, some 20 years after the designer’s death.
Organizers of the “Gianni Versace Retrospective” opening Tuesday at the German capital’s Kronprinzenpalais put together the show with contributions from private collectors around the world.
Versace’s sexy and daring clothes in the 1980s and 1990s made him a favourite among rockers, Hollywood stars and other celebrities. The wide-ranging exhibit covers both women’s and menswear, and includes pieces such as a tailcoat ensemble made for Sting’s wedding in 1992 and many others worn by everyone from Madonna and Prince to Naomi Campbell.
He was gunned down outside his Miami Beach, Florida, mansion on July 15, 1997, by Andrew Cunanan, who killed himself a few days later.
Co-curator Karl von der Ahe said the new show stemmed from a chance meeting with a major Versace collector, which generated a desire to “show the breadth of the work.”
“Such an overview of his work is something special,” he said.
The exhibition developed as it went along, fellow curator Saskia Lubnow said. Organizers started out with a “we’ll take what we get” approach, but increasingly “thought about what Gianni was, how Gianni thought, what did he want to say” and went looking for specific pieces.
The exhibition is arranged by theme, rather than chronologically — starting, for example, with a room of creations in black and gold.
Versace had his first exhibition in Berlin in 1994 and, organizers say, had planned to come back to the city — not one of the top traditional fashion centres.
“You might say that Paris would be easier, or Milan, because people there have a greater affinity for this kind of thing and understand fashion more as part of their world,” von der Ahe said. But “it is a city that can use something like this … perhaps it will push another view of Berlin’s development as a city of fashion.”
The exhibition runs until April 13.