The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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London museum awash with Versace

London, Oct. 14 (Reuters): London's Victoria & Albert Museum was awash with satin, silk and sequins today as it played host to a major retrospective of the works of murdered Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace.

Dresses worn by Princess Diana, Madonna and British model Liz Hurley were among 130 outfits displayed against a backdrop of giant colour photographs of some of Versace's best-known celebrity clients.

The designer's sister Donatella, head of the Versace empire since Gianni was gunned down in Miami five years ago, was in town to see the collection, which opens to the public on Thursday and runs until January 12.

“It makes me very emotional. I remember each of these dresses so well,” she said, speaking to reporters over a soundtrack of pop music including tracks by Versace's close friend Sir Elton John. Fronting the exhibition was the dress which catapulted Hurley to fame in 1994, when she wore it to the London premiere of British film Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Sleeveless and with a plunging neckline, the black gown is held together down both sides with only a series of giant gold safety pins.

Hurley reportedly said she had nothing to wear to the premiere and asked the Versace house to help. They responded by lending her the dress — the last item they had on the rack in their London press office.

Photographs of Hurley arriving at the show with her then boyfriend Hugh Grant were splashed across the front pages of the world's newspapers the next day and Hurley's career took off.

Also on display was an evening gown from Versace's autumn/winter 1992 collection, worn by Diana, Princess of Wales. Versace and the princess died within weeks of each other — the first gunned down on the steps of his Miami mansion by a lone gunman in July 1997, the second in a car crash in a Paris tunnel the following month.

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