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Versace

Later to become known as both ‘Lorenzo de Versace’ and a ‘bourgeois prince’, Gianni Versace was first exposed to the world of fashion in his mother’s atelier in Reggio Calabria in the early postwar period. Puzzled by the fact that southern women had to conceal their sexuality behind black clothing and heavy shawls, in a land where garments of silk chiffon and velvet more accurately represented the warmth and sensuality of the Mediterranean, Versace left his homeland in search of greater freedom. He moved north to Milan, and in 1978 the first collection bearing his name appeared on the fashion scene. He was not alone in his venture. His sister Donatella, after graduating in languages from the University of Florence, joined him in Milan and soon became his indispensable muse and adviser. His brother was later to become the managerial mind behind the Versace label.