In via Gesù, the most discreet of the fashion district’s streets, hidden away between via Monte Napoleone and via della Spiga, in a striking aristocratic building, there’s what used to be Gianni Versace’s home and studio, where the designer has lived and worked for years. The building has hosted many of the house’s catwalk shows – in the big halls with stucco ceilings, the spirit of Medusa is truly palpable. Here, the house will showcase some of its most precious garments, alongside some of the Hollywood stars’ favourites.
Founded in 1978 by Gianni Versace, the renowned fashion designer, Versace is one of the leading international fashion houses and a symbol of Italian luxury world-wide. Versace designs, manufactures, distributes and retails fashion and lifestyle products including Atelier (Haute Couture), prèt-à-porter, accessories, jewelry, watches, eyewear, fragrances, and home furnishings all bearing the distinctive Medusa logo.
In 1997 Donatella became Creative Director of Versace and has since steered the brand into the 21st century. This was a natural progression for Donatella, who previously collaborated with her brother Gianni on the iconic advertising campaigns for the house, working with celebrated fashion photographers Richard Avedon, Herb Ritts and Steven Meisel. Donatella had also been responsible for designing accessories for Versace and for the Versus line in the late eighties.
Today, Versace represents its heritage through innovative and always glamorous designs, while addressing a new global audience that continues to strengthen the brand’s position in contemporary culture.
VIA GESÙ 12
Via Gesù takes its name from Casa di Francescane, a former Franciscan monastery with an adjoining chapel which was originally constructed on the corner of Gesù street in the center of the Milanese district.
In 1782, the buildings in Via Gesù from number 6 to 12 were transformed from a convent into dwellings built by the noble family, Lattuada, whose architecture dates back to the late neoclassic period. The building at Gesù 12 contains a romantic garden enclosure that surrounds a large pebbled courtyard.
In 1982 the Versace family acquired a section of the villa in Via Gesù, 12, then purchasing the remainder of the property in February of 1986.
With a basis of French tradition and Italian culture, the idea was not just to build the Maison’s corporate headquarters but rather a home-studio in which designer Gianni Versace lived and worked. The Versace Palace became an evocative place, combining the traditional setting of a fashion Maison equipped for modern and efficient production of the time.
Gianni Versace’s home can be found on the left wing of the first floor – a beautiful apartment whose restoration work has been completed by architect Lorenzo Mongiardino. The rest of the palace currently hosts Versace offices, including the made-to-measure Atelier and Versace’s showrooms where fashion show fittings are hosted, and new collections are displayed.