Anatomy of a Trend: Versace’s Baroque Print

October 20, 2011

Today, Versace released the lookbook for their massive H&M collaboration, 87 pieces, which perfectly capture the heyday of bombastic '90s Versace. The essence of the Gianni Versace era is the bold, baroque-style prints he used on everything from safety-pin dresses and bomber jackets, to beach towels and throw pillows. In the past year or so, the trend has popped up everywhere. Today, we trace his obsession with print from its glorified beginnings to its current-day revival.

Baroque's fashion renaissance popped off in the late 1980s, when Milan-based Gianni Versace turned the Italian artistic tradition into wild pop art, replacing the angels and cherubs of Italian frescos with gold chains, Medusa heads and leopard skins printed on shiny silk. Everything in the Versace moment was big and brash, especially the supermodels like Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelisita who rocked the bold prints best.

The Versace lifestyle was also lauded by hip-hop mega stars like Notorious BIG and Lil Kim who championed the fashion house back in New York. Kim did a Versace print wig for an in-store appearance and Biggie always rocked the Medusa-emblem sunglasses. Biggie spit, I'm clockin ya, Versace shade watchin ya on "One More Chance", while Kim rapped even more possessively: Y'all rock Versace and y'all went out and bought it/ I rock Versace and y'all know I ain't paid for it.

We started to notice the reemergence of the trend last summer, when the vintage store Vagabond NYC started stocking authentic old school Versace silk shirts.

This spring, in honor of our Biggie Icon issue, we wrote about London design duo Swash, who based a whole collection of scarves and dresses on playful updates of the baroque print.

In the same issue, we asked artist Stacey Rozich to interpret Biggie's Versace swagger.

We noted that Givenchy did a take on the trend back in March, with Ricardo Tisci's collection sparking a fashion frenzy for silk prints.

Donatella Versace has spent the past few seasons revisiting the brand's roots, sending simplified, updated versions of classic Versace down the runways in Milan.

And, after so much build up, Versace's H&M collection definitively states that fall 2012 is a quintessential Versace moment, boiled down to its simplest, most recognizable core.

Anatomy of a Trend: Versace’s Baroque Print