Gianni Versace - L’abito per pensare


Light is able to change depending on the themes addressed and the environments in which it is found. From halogen lamps to theatrical devices: the visitor observes the clothes and then becomes a spectator of a performance




Sforzesco Castle, Milan – Italy


Arch. Gianfranco Cavaglià

The ballroom is rectangular in shape, featuring 10 meter high ceilings, large windows - which allow for the diffusion of daylight - and a single door that serves both as entrance and exit. For the exhibition, the windows were closed and a runner indicated the itinerary for visitors while in each individual section large titles provided general information. In order to highlight Versace’s career, the show was divided chronologically into six different parts: Section 1: “Utopia of the Past” featured both clothes made by Versace’s dressmaker mother, as well as those from the early years of his ready-to-wear lines designed for Callaghan, Complice and Genny. Section 2: “The Unknown Masterpiece” underlines how, despite fashion’s apparent seasonal variations, a continuity and coherence of style and design exists from one collection to another. Tall, elongated trapezoidal side-screens marked the route, making it thus possible to control the lighting of and highlight each individual garment. A continuous tube, fixed 5 m above the platform, held up a row of low-voltage 75 W AR 111 halogen lamps, with beam emissions between 5° and 10°. To ensure that each garment was illuminated with parallel beams of shadowless light, a metallic grid was expressly fixed to the floor in order to eliminate any shadows. Section 3: “La mise en scene”, dedicated to theatre and fashion, was illuminated with kinetic effects, employing moving light to accentuate the characteristics of the costumes present on the forestage. Theatre equipment was used to create lighting effects alternating between frontal, side, foot lighting and lighting from the wings, to allow the garment-cum-characters to come alive with all the glamour of the stage. This was a window of light projected onto the backdrop, whose intensity could be changed to add depth and breadth to the rather confined spaces and give a magic, ephemeral quality to the costumes. Section 4/5/6: dedicated to Versace’s styling alphabet, dress design and cultural connections.