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On red carpets it's vintage Versace fever

Why celebrities are increasingly wearing pieces from the Giani Versace's Italian Fashion house

On red carpets it's vintage Versace fever Why celebrities are increasingly wearing pieces from the Giani Versace's Italian Fashion house

This year the red carpets are back stronger than ever and the brand to dominate them all is Donatella Versace with her archive looks. The queen of nostalgia markenting uses Versace's expertise from the 90s and the BSDM allure of the brand created by Gianni to curate the presence of the stars of the moment, from Bella Hadid to Dua Lipa, via Meghan Thee Stallion and Zendaya and even the Ferragnez. The creations from the Italian fashion house's past collections worn by these influential personalities are even more valuable than the garments seen on the latest catwalks given their uniqueness and the financial and time effort put into their preservation and performance on the body. This sophisticated wave in styling reawakens a passion for researching archive garments and mixes the sustainable drive of vintage fashion with the allure of Versace's golden years, the 80s and 90s, which totally mirror today's trends, between the return of the BSDM trend and female self-assertion with the wasp-waisted uniform achieved with the corset. 

At the recent Cannes Film Festival red carpet, Bella Hadid carried the banner of vintage value high in two dresses from the Versace archive, one fitted with a soft pouf skirt from the 1987 collection designed by Gianni himself and another more recent one from the Fall/Winter 2001 collection with a deep neckline and brown leather sash, while she was photographed outside her room at La Croisette in a Fall/Winter 2003 dress with a mermaid silhouette and flesh-coloured lace-up corset. Scrolling through the line-up of society events found in this 2022, even at the Met Gala the Versace archive looks wowed the audience. Worn by Emily Ratajkowski, the precious dress studded with coloured beads with a dramatic train came from Versace's Spring/Summer 1992. Also present at the Metropolitan Museum event were the Ferragnez, dressed strictly in Versace to represent Italy: for Chiara, Donatella selected a long, see-through black dress from the 1997 Couture collection, the last one designed by Gianni Versace, with deep sentimental value. Also for the Grammy Awards, the visual citation to a topical moment in pop culture (and in the lives of all women) recreated by Dua Lipa and Meghan Thee Stallion on the original scene of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston featured the look with harness decorated with the Medusa logo from Fall Winter 1992, also worn by Donatella herself.

In a virtuous circle, the life of these archival creations continues to flow and gain prominence in the annals of fashion, thanks to the celebrities and the skilful placement by the Versace marketing team and Donatella's foresight. "Gianni's original pieces are always highly coveted and Donatella's early pieces are rapidly recovering in value," explains vintage dealer Cherie Balch of Shrimpton Couture in an interview, who says that prices of Versace's archive pieces are steadily increasing in value and becoming increasingly attractive to collectors and archive owners working with preserving and renting out such garments to celebrities. When stylists choose a vintage Versace dress for their celebrity clients, they are selecting a garment with deep historical, sentimental value, linked to Italian fashion culture and celebrity culture: "The girls who want and wear vintage Versace are now looking for the same prominent dresses that the girls who wore them wanted when they were introduced," continues the expert.

Even before 2022, vintage Versace gowns had won over the world's leading image makers, most notably Law Roach, who selected a 1996 Gianni Versace dress for then rising star Zendaya for the Green Carpet Fashion Awards back in 2020 and then again in 2021 for the BET Awards, opting for a SS2003 look with coloured silk bands that hinted at the actress's physique, previously worn by Beyoncé the year she came out.