A funny thing happened in 1992. Italian designer Gianni Versace came to Miami to visit his sister Donatella, whose then-husband was from nearby Hollywood, Fla. With some time to sightsee, Gianni asked his cabdriver to take him “somewhere good.” He was dropped at the corner of Eighth Street and Ocean Drive. The rest is history.
This past December, the Miami Design District celebrated the lasting Versace legacy with South Beach Stories, an exhibition by Versace and interior designer Sasha Bikoff. Alongside furniture pieces inspired by iconic Versace looks, there was early '90s campaign imagery by photographer Doug Ordway and Versace's original runway designs from the same time period. We snuck in after hours to play dress up with model Jessica Goicoechea. Alongside the steamy images, you'll find excerpts from the original interview with Gianni Versace that was printed in the very first issue of the magazine.
"Is there anyone you would rather not see wearing your designs?"
"I don't think so. Listen. I prefer a happy vulgar person to an unhappy chic person. If you're unhappy and don't have a positive attitude, what good is being chic?" —Gianni Versace
"Your designs are all so varied. There's the leather-and-chainwear, the bright silk prints, the scrappy bustier dresses..."
"Look, I fly on the Concorde. I eat at the Century. I collect antiques. All different things. In life, everything is not all one way."
"Does people-watching on Ocean Drive give you design ideas?"
"I watch people everywhere. This is not that different. People inspire me, and I like to play with fashion. Once, you know, fashion used to be very aristocratic. But now it's about intelligence, and the way people live."
“Can anybody wear Versace?”
“It’s all a question of attitude. One time, Diana Vreeland, when she was 75 years old, she saw my sister, Donatella, wearing a pair of leather jeans. She asked my sister to take off her whole outfit and give it to her, and you know what? She looked great. It’s all a matter of attitude.”
“Tell me about your book.”
“The title is 'South Beach Stories.' It’s a mixture of culture and superficiality.”
“What kind of change do you see for South Beach over the coming years?”
“I think in five or six years it will grow a lot. But I hope it will just be restored, and that the beauty does not get destroyed. Quality, not quantity, is the important thing for Miami.”