So, how did Medusa, a Gorgon (3 powerful daemons in Greek myth) become the logo for the Versace brand and how does this related to femininity? Very briefly, Medusa is one of three Gorgon sisters, the only mortal one who Perseus slays. According to poets, the gorgons were once beautiful women punished by the gods for bragging of their beauty, or in Medusa’s case, turned into a monster by Athena for sleeping with Poseidon. Her intense stare turns onlookers into stone. You can see how some common idioms such as “ drop dead gorgeous&quot; and killer smile relate to this myth and fashion/appearance in general.
I think this quote demonstrates “girl power” a bit.. How it’s not about appealing to just others, but it is about appealing to yourself and by doing this, gaining confidence and achieving what you want. In this way fashion can be seen as a “transition tool” since if you want to become more feminine then you can wear the
“… the opposite of what people think of when you say masculine, pink dresses and hair brushes.” “ Multi tasking, keeping up appearance, poised, not taking up space (pretty, quiet, out of the way.” “ Femininity is expressing yourself as female, as what is expected in your society. Whether that femininity is defined by culture and varies. It’s not constant.” “ Shopping, arguing, whiny, self-conscious, curious.” “ Pretty, strong, confident…jeans.” “ Expensive shampoo” “ Lace, lots and lots of lace, and long, white gloves; silk and chiffon.” “… pale pink feather boa.” “ Beauty, female intuition, pretty and poised, frilly, girly, emotions, strong self-awareness.”
http://sassisam.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/gisele-bundchene28093versace-spring-summer-2009-3.jpg Versace uses glamour and sex appeal to create the image of a strong confident woman who is in control of her appearance and uses it to her advantage. However, Versace also perpetuates the traditional stereotype that to be feminine you must be must look like the models on the catwalk, or the celebrities in the ads. In other words you must fit the mold!
The dominatrix The prostitute … and medusa “ A dominatrix is imbued with a certain power.” Reichert, T. & Lambiase, J., 2003, p. 76) “ This is the medusa invoked in Versace’s choice of logo, the devastating power of beautiful women to slay.” (Evans, C., 2003, p. 122) “ Versace chose as his heroic female model the prostitute or streetwalker.” (Martin, R., 1998, p. 96)
“ [Black] is also the colour of power; as in the judge’s robes, the biker’s black leather jacket and the femme fatale’s little black dress.” (Steele, 2001, p. 77)
Traditionally men have been the dominant sex
The Dominatrix represents a
type of role reversal
She is a combination of the “male” dominance,
power and confidence and “feminine” sexuality and allurement.
Through the “Elizabeth Hurley Dress” Versace transformed the wearer of the “little black dress” from upper-middleclass housewife into a sexy, alluring woman.
“ Designers have always looked to the street; he [Versace] looked to the streetwalker.” -Richard Martin, director of the Costume Institute at New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art .
Versace’s femininity is sexuality and power; sexuality can become a commodity
Versace was inspired by the assertiveness
and confident sexuality of prostitutes.
By wearing Versace you can express yourself rather than having to abide by the rules. Women can be assertive and confident in this clothing, while still feeling sexy and feminine.
“ I wouldn’t say the Versace woman is predatory. I would say she is seductive. Woman need to seduce in order to achieve their goals. I don’t just mean seduce men - they need to seduce themselves, because once you seduce yourself, you start to like yourself and are better able to achieve what you want... The brain is the best seduction tool you have. But clothes can help, too.”
Gianni used extreme colour (extremely bright and/or very dark)
hyper femininity and fantasy
Donatella uses more subdued colors than Gianni
feminine attributes highlighted by vivid hues
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v721/sethbreaker/2009/hottestphotoever.jpg http://blogs.orange.co.uk/photos/uncategorized/2008/10/10/lizh_rex_10oct08_250.jpg http://i7.tinypic.com/24vv7gi.jpg http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_9-e0BcsGsX8/SacmxrfwnRI/AAAAAAAAEw8/_6_-qQxHBRo/s400/Picture_7.png Gianni’s Versace Donatella’s Versace Buss, C. Mendes, B. & Wilcox, C. (2002). The Art and Craft of Gianni Versace . London. V&A Publications
“ Versace pushed materials to their very limits…he endowed them with new identities. Like metal mesh, leather was not exempt – he had it embroidered, studded, pleated, crumpled, embossed and gilded…manipulating leather as if it were pliable silk.”
- The Art and Craft of Gianni Versace
http://www.zimbio.com/Ponahalo+Diamonds/articles/11/Versace+Ads+Featuring+Gisele+B+ndchen+Kate http://www.studio-international.co.uk/studio-images/Versace/orotondressB.asp Leather and Snakeskin Chainmail and Metal http://jetsetera.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/versace-runway-heavy-metal-de-84076778.jpg http://www.metmuseum.org/special/rock/evening_dress.L.htm http://sidewalkisarunway.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/00340m.jpg
“ A celebrity can convey a message much quicker and much more clearly than a model. ” - TIME interview Donatella Versace. http://img.liveinternet.ru/images/attach/2/5626/5626285_Fall_winter_2005_advertising_campaign_with_Demi_Moore.jpg http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_RMM5j0PrdB0/SZPpDXQqyJI/AAAAAAAAApI/oe_Fs0Fzo0c/s400/HalleBerry_Versace_kani+ladies+blog.jpg http://dusinfernus.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/madonna-versace.jpg http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3436/3205279044_b624bfd761.jpg
Versace choose celebrities that already represent power, confidence, sexuality – inherent qualities of Versace designs.
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/03/03/article-1158784-03BA5A19000005DC-217_306x653.jpg http://celebrityfashionistas.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/042309-1.jpg “ I remember the first time I wore Versace; it was a teal, figure - hugging cocktail dress, I’ll never forget it because I felt instantly in touch with my sensuality. ” - Halle Berry “Versace Feature Halle Berry in New Ads” 2005 http://www.style.com/slideshows/parties/091805EMMY/02m.jpg http://profashionelle.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/blake-lively-versace-fall-2009-red-dress-2009-emmy-awards.jpg
Celebrities wear Versace to convey ideas of sexuality, femininity and confidence to the public
Advertisements show both typical femininity (appearance management, being “seen”) and confident femininity
Is sometimes vague as to whether the Versace product is for sale, or a lifestyle….
http://images.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://freshnessmag.com/v4/wp-gallery/oct_06/thumbs/versace_009.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.freshnessmag.com/2006/10/31/versace-lamborghini http://www.leftlanenews.com/cars/image_popup/newgallery.php?postid=4149&defimage=http%3A%2F%2Fphotos.leftlanenews.com%2Fphotos%2Fimageresizeronfly%2FphpThumb.php%3Fsrc%3D%2Fphotos%2Fcontent%2F5-lamborghini-murcielago-lp640-versace.jpg Designer-bags.com … femininity is a commodity, Versace is selling a lifestyle http://www.rushingforlife.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/genuine_versace_makeup_five_pieces_thirty_two_copy_copy.282132640_std.jpg http://www.traveljournals.net/pictures/l/11/114831-the-palasso-versace-hotel-an-amazing-experience--gold-coast-australia.jpg http://artstyleonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/vanity-by-versace-rosenthal.jpg Femininity sexuality and glamour are embedded in Versace merchandise
Media portrays thinness as a good thing and “masks” the negative consequences to sell products.
Versace is aware of the consequences but is not willing to create plus size (10+) clothing.
Versace is saying that only thin models and people who wear their clothes are feminine, and those who are plus sized are not.
Is perpetuating idea that femininity is thin, tanned, groomed, etc.
“ The media and the fashion industry would have us believe that ultra thinness symbolizes beauty, health and a sense of fashion”..... http://fashioninmotion.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/versace-spring-08.jpg http://www.versace.com/
While Versace creates the appearance of a strong, confident woman who is in control of her own self, this brand still reinforces the stereotypical views on women, whereby a woman must manage her appearance.