A runway look from Versace’s Fall 2011 collection  

Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Jonathan Adler, Zac Posen—that’s just a small roster of boldfaced names who at some point in their careers have looked upon South Beach’s glorious combination of iconic buildings, golden sands and azure waters and found themselves thinking, What a great jumping-off point for a collection. For some designers, the appeal is just far too alluring. “Miami is very international and cosmopolitan, and women are naturally sexy and very body-conscious; the city’s atmosphere and its elements also inspire me when I think about rich colors and textures that highlight the shapes of the female body,” notes Brazil’s Carlos Miele, who indeed created a Miami-inspired collection after opening his boutique at the Village of Merrick Park in 2008.

From the moment he arrived in 1992, Gianni Versace became, of course, the ultimate ambassador of Miami style, telegraphing the city’s unabashed audacity through his use of vibrant colors, dazzling prints and an overt sex appeal that at times seemed nothing less than insatiable. The Versace look instantly became synonymous with Miami, while his Home collection, with its baroque lines and trademark Medusa print, which arose out of the design he created for his beloved Casa Casuarina, likewise became the signature aesthetic for every upscale home along Bayshore or on Star Island and points far beyond. Versace’s 1997 death undeniably left a void not only in our hearts, but also very simply diminished our opportunity to witness ideas bold and beautiful in equal measure. How lovely, then, that Donatella Versace chooses to occasionally reference her brother’s Miami moments, as she did for the house’s Spring 2006 men’s collection. Like the city itself and the memory of a brilliant visionary who adopted it as his home, it’s both thrilling and comforting to know that Miami’s ability to inspire, not unlike the colors that surround us, will never truly fade.

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