Groninger Museum to Stage Major Gianni Versace Retrospective

ICONS ONLY: Twenty-five years after his death, Gianni Versace is the subject of an upcoming retrospective at the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands that bills itself as the largest exhibition of the Italian fashion designer’s work.

The exhibition features women’s and men’s outfits, accessories, fabrics, drawings, interior designs and show footage from Versace’s heyday in the 1990s, sourced from the archives of leading private collectors of his work. The Versace family and company are not involved and did not endorse the event.

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Visitors will be able to see iconic creations like the safety pin dress that propelled Elizabeth Hurley to international stardom in 1994, on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and key looks from the fall 1991 runway that crystallized the supermodel moment, with a cast including Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell.

Liz Hurley at the "Four Weddings and a Funeral" premiere in London, 1994
Liz Hurley at the “Four Weddings and a Funeral” premiere in London, 1994.

Gianni Versace understood the power of the media better than anyone. He laid the groundwork for the influencers of today. Versace seated celebrities rather than fashion journalists in the front rows at his shows,” the museum said in a statement.

“He also dressed them for red carpet appearances and performances. The rapper 2Pac often wore the designer’s silk shirts on stage and performed at a 1996 Versace show in Milan. Versace’s strategy was hugely effective at reaching a mass audience,” it added.

“Gianni Versace Retrospective,” curated by Karl von der Ahé and Saskia Lubnow, is set to run from Dec. 3 to May 7. It’s organized in collaboration with collectors Antonio Caravano, with Sabina Albano as collection curator, as well as Salvatore Alderuccio and Franco Jacassi, the owner of Milan store Vintage Delirium.

The exhibition is organized around the designer’s sources of inspiration, with each gallery featuring a unique decor. One of them is dedicated to ’90s U.S. pop culture and features music by Elton John and art by Andy Warhol, who inspired Versace’s spring 1991 collection, featuring multicolored prints of Marilyn Monroe.

Gianni Versace Pop Art dresses
Gianni Versace Pop Art dresses.

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