Gianni Versace Retrospective: Breaking the norms of fashion
By Malin Norman
Now showing at Textilmuseet in Borås, the exhibition Gianni Versace Retrospective tells the story of Gianni Versace, who started one of the most famous fashion houses in the world. Follow an emotional journey through his aesthetics, from exclusive materials and bold patterns to street style and pop art.
The fashion designer Gianni Versace was a true pioneer, who challenged the fashion industry with cutting-edge designs. His creativity knew no borders: he mixed fashion and art, antique and modern, male and female. He connected fashion with music, photography and graphic design, and was at the forefront of transforming fashion shows and advertising campaigns into holistic, pop-cultural artworks.
In the exhibition Gianni Versace Retrospective at Textilmuseet in Borås, over 70 selected men’s and women’s outfits from his glory days between 1984 and 1997 are on display. It highlights some of his characteristics, such as innovative patterns and unusual materials. “Versace’s designs are inspirational and diverse,” says Ewa Blomqvist, producer of the exhibition at Textilmuseet. “He was a central figure in the ‘90s world of fashion and introduced many phenomena that we see today, such as designer jeans, supermodels and lifestyle brands related to celebrities.”
In an interview published in Vogue in 1985, the designer himself said: “I like to be different. I like to break barriers. I think it’s the responsibility of a designer to try to break rules and barriers.” And he was ground-breaking indeed in terms of gender and what is male or female. “Versace exposed the body, but men and women equally,” elaborates Blomqvist. “There was an ambivalence. He portrayed women as super female yet independent warriors and Amazons, while men were seen as super male but also sensual, sensitive and fragile.”
This spring, Textilmuseet also presents Body Beautiful – Diversity on the Catwalk from National Museums Scotland, which questions the ideals in fashion. The display focuses on size, gender, age, disability, and ethnicity. In addition to garments by well-known designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood, it includes interviews with influencers, models, stylists, photographers and editors, who share their view of the fashion industry. Blomqvist concludes: “Fashion and clothes relate to everybody, and the exhibition shows examples of inclusion and representation. It’s a sign of the times – many brands are becoming more aware.”
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