Gianni Versace for Genny and Complice: Vogue Patterns

detail of Vogue 2080 - late '70s pattern by Gianni Versace for Complice

This month marks 15 years since the death of Gianni Versace. This week’s post will be the first of two on Versace sewing patterns, in memory of the late designer.

photo and biography of Gianni Versace from pattern envelope flap

Before he founded his own company, Gianni Versace (1946–1997) was the designer for the Milanese brands Genny, Complice, and Callaghan, and his first boutique sold his designs for those labels. These editorial images from L’Officiel, photographed at the Tivioli showroom in Milan, show designs from all three, as well as Versace’s new label:

Gianni Versace for Complice / Gianni Versace for Callaghan; Gianni Versace. Editorial, Spring 1979
Left: Gianni Versace for Complice and Gianni Versace for Callaghan. Right: Gianni Versace. L’Officiel, February 1979. Photo: Michel Picard. Image: jalougallery.com.
Gianni Versace and Gianni Versace for Genny - Spring 1979
Gianni Versace and Gianni Versace for Genny. L’Officiel, February 1979. Photo: Michel Picard. Image: jalougallery.com.

The earliest Versace sewing patterns are drawn from the designer’s work for Genny and Complice. Vogue Patterns welcomed Versace to their designer licensees in 1978, the year he founded his business:

Viva Versace Vogue Patterns November/December 1978
VIVA, VERSACE! Versace in Vogue Patterns, November/December 1978. Image: Etsy.

(The headline reads, “Viva, Versace! Welcome to Vogue’s world! Gianni Versace, the Milanese master of fashion, opens exciting vistas into your sewing life.”)

Vogue Patterns’ first four Versace patterns were designs for Genny and Complice, two from each label.

Genny

Rosie Vela wears Genny by Versace on the cover of Vogue Patterns magazine, 1978.
Vogue 2025 by Versace for Genny on the cover of Vogue Patterns, November/December 1978. Photo: Albert Watson. Model: Roseanne Vela. Image: Make Mine Vogue.

Versace was the designer for Genny, a label owned by the Girombelli family, from 1973. Vogue 2025 (also shown in the “Viva, Versace” photo above) is an ensemble consisting of a pleated blouse or tunic, tapered pants, and pleated cummerbund:

1970s Gianni Versace for Genny pattern Vogue 2025
Vogue 2025 by Gianni Versace for Genny (1978)

The cummerbund is tucked rather than pleated in Vogue 2026, an evening suit that also includes a short, double-breasted jacket with contrast lapels, bias camisole, and sheer skirt with shaped front hemline:

1970s Gianni Versace for Genny evening suit pattern Vogue 2026
Vogue 2026 by Gianni Versace for Genny (1978)

Here’s the Vogue 2026 evening suit made up in white for a 1979 editorial:

Vogue 2025 by Gianni Versace for Genny in Vogue Patterns, Jan/Feb 1979
Vogue 2025 by Gianni Versace for Genny, Vogue Patterns, January/February 1979. Photo: Arthur Elgort. Model: Michelle Stevens. Image: The Fashion Spot.

Complice

Complice was a line Gianni Versace developed for the Girombellis. Vogue 2048 looks forward to the Eighties silhouette with its loose dress or top with standing band collar and slim, tapered pants. As the envelope says, “Purchased belt forms desired blouson”:

1970s Gianni Versace for Complice pattern Vogue 2048
Vogue 2048 by Gianni Versace for Complice (1978) Image: PatternVault shop.

Vogue 2080 is a military-style ensemble consisting of pleated, tapered pants and a blouse with standing collar, button epaulets, and contrast piping trim:

1970s Gianni Versace for Complice pattern Vogue 2080
Vogue 2080 by Gianni Versace for Complice (1978) Image: PatternVault shop.

Update: this Complice design was also photographed by Patrick Demarchelier for the cover of Vogue Patterns:

Vogue 2080 by Versace for Complice photographed by Patrick Demarchelier for the cover of Vogue Patterns, 1979
Vogue 2080 by Versace for Complice on the cover of Vogue Patterns, January/February 1979. Photo: Patrick Demarchelier. Model: Karen Bjornson. Image: Make Mine Vogue.

Just for fun, here are some Versace for Complice campaign images. Guy Bourdin was the photographer for Complice campaigns during this period. These first two, very Interview with the Vampire images are from August 1977:

Gianni Versace for Complice campaign photographed by Guy Bourdin, Vogue Paris, August 1977
Gianni Versace for Complice campaign, Fall 1977. Photo: Guy Bourdin. Image: Black Album.
Gianni Versace for Complice campaign photographed by Guy Bourdin, Vogue Paris, August 1977
Gianni Versace for Complice campaign, Fall 1977. Photo: Guy Bourdin. Image: Black Album.

This one I’m not sure of the date:

Gianni Versace for Complice campaign image by Guy Bourdin
Gianni Versace for Complice campaign. Photo: Guy Bourdin. Image: guybourdin.net.

You can see more Guy Bourdin/Versace for Complice photos here.

Next: Vogue patterns by Gianni Versace.

13 thoughts on “Gianni Versace for Genny and Complice: Vogue Patterns

  1. Great to see these – they come across now as aesthetic hybrids – sign of their times, I guess – about to become the oversized and clueless 80s, emerging from the over-mannered 70s.
    A touch of Zhivago, a dash of vampire.
    I do like those long narrow pants with the intelligent tapering at the waist.

    1. Thanks, Heidi! My source for the two ‘vampire’ photos didn’t give a photo credit, but of course they must be Bourdin.. I’ve edited the post and also added a link to more 🙂

  2. #2025… RARE! I’m still waiting to acquire a copy.
    I LOVE Vogue’s Versace patterns. I have almost all of them.
    The only thing I don’t understand about some of the designs (not of the four above) is how wrap dresses and wrap camisoles are supposed to stay put when there are no fastenings or closures, and they are not designed to be tied, either. On one dress design it seems that a belt is supposed to do the trick, but you’d most likely be adjusting your dress all day/evening. As a male I personally don’t wear dresses, but I try to imagine what will make a dress practical and comfortable for women. I have a Halston wrap top pattern with the same issue, and it doesn’t seem to be intended to be tied in a knot, but merely twisted and tucked into itself or into a skirt/pants waistband. I’m sure it would slowly creep undone as the day/evening unfolds.
    Anyhow, I can’t wait for the next installment. Viva Versace for Vogue Patterns!

      1. That’s funny, I was planning to include a wrap dress in my next Versace post.. Have you tried making any of the wrap designs up? My understanding is that a well-cut wrap doesn’t gape. Failing that, I think there’s a trick one can do with elastic along the inside edge—or there’s always double-sided tape (!)
        Best of luck finding V2025. I recall you do have V2375, another rare one!

      2. Good memory! I love that Versace pattern with the side-drape pants.
        I haven’t made-up any of the Versace patterns, or a wrap dress, but I’ve analysed the construction and I got to the end of the instruction sheets and thought “where does this thing fasten?”. It seemed so typically Versace, so risqué, for one to go out wearing something and not know whether your dress or blouse might fly open with the next gush of wind! The scandal… LOL
        It could be rather irritating to have to improvise with fastenings, such as the elastic trick, but if a design is fabulous enough then it would be worth it.
        I heard from someone, somewhere, at some time that tie wrap dresses don’t really stay put and have to be re-adjusted now and then, does that sound true? I suppose there are meany factors, such as an individual’s body shape and fabric choice.

    1. I didn’t know who Terri May was so I had to google her, and I instantly recognised her face! She’s one of the most beautiful women to model for Vogue patterns. But I’m still leaning towards Gia, it looks to me like her nose and chin/jaw.

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