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.