Versace: Signatures

Gianni Versace is Italy's leading couturier and made headlines when he opened his sumptuous store in Bond Street in London which caters for the rich and famous, both male and female, from all over the world. Versace: Signatures presents a range of his outstanding designs both eyecatching and idiosyncratic. Over 200 full colour photographs document the designer's best work from recent years - the brightly printed silks and painted tights, the bodices festooned with beads, the playful reappropriation of leather straps and chains with an occasional backward glance to the pieces that first made Versace famous: the wide shoulders, supple leather jackets and metal mesh of the early 1980s. The book closes with a survey of his theatrical costumes and a chronology of his career to date. Versace's sources are wide-ranging, from ancient Egypt of the Pharaohs to Russian Folk costumes. He draws on Art Deco, Pop Art and Op Art as springboards for his imagination, together with the traditions of Baroque and Rococco. As Omar Calabrese says in his essay, this mix of inspiration fosters a spirit of risk and adventure, a certain complicity between the creator of adventure, the creator of the clothes and their potential user . There are comments on Versace's work by experts as diverse as art critic Ingrid Sischy, choreographer Maurice Bejart, director Robert Wilson, and fashion editors Anna Wintour, Polly Mellen and Liz Tilberis.