MILAN — The Versace archives are an endless source of inspiration and in keeping with fashion’s nostalgia, the Italian luxury house is unveiling on Dec. 6 an exhibition called “South Beach Stories” curated by interior designer Sasha Bikoff, which connects the brand’s fashion with its home collection.
Staged at Miami’s Palm Court Event space in conjunction with Art Basel Miami Beach, the display pays homage to the book of the same name published in 1993 by the Versace family. Archival imagery lensed by the house’s go-to photographer Doug Ordway embellish the walls of the exhibition space decked in vibrant hues, including lime, tropical green and deep blue, also a reference to the Nineties book’s pages.
“Similar to the book, the exhibition shares the life of a family of true artists that came to this city and made such a big cultural and creative impact that is still in our minds and hearts today,” said Bikoff, who grew up between New York and Miami.
The designer first collaborated with Versace on its most recent Home collection presented at the brand’s storied palazzo on Milan’s Via Gesù in conjunction with the international furniture and design trade show Salone del Mobile last April.
For the Miami show, Bikoff designed new one-of-a-kind furniture pieces inspired by signature Versace looks from seasons past, including the spring 1994 collection referenced to with a bed made from surfboards and covered in Art Deco bed linens; a leather swing embellished with gilded Medusa hardware nods to the “Miss S&M” fall 1992 lineup, while the bohemian spring 1993 season inspires the illustration of celestial bodies decorating a golden coffee table carved from wood. Three crystal chandeliers in the shape of sailing ships are rendered in pop hues such as yellow, red and pink. Each furniture piece is flanked by the archival look it references.
Canadian artist Andy Dixon is also returning to brand for Design Miami with a new iteration of his large-scale artworks exploring the relationship between art history and luxury. The new hand-painted, 10-by-8-foot Versace shirt bears a Miami-inspired prints featuring sunbathing girls, convertible cars and floral motifs.
Marking the “South Beach Stories” exhibition, Bikoff lent her eclectic touch to two limited-edition Virtus handbags that are exclusively available at Versace’s flagship store in the city. Nodding to the renowned Ocean Drive’s Art Deco buildings’ pastel hues, the bags are crafted from napa leather in a range of sea foam green, peach and blue colors, their linings inspired by the candy swirl-like patterns first introduced by Bikoff for the Milan showcase in April. The signature V-shaped metal hardware named after the Roman deity of bravery and strength is lacquered in green and red to recall Miami’s neon lights. The shop also offers a range of exclusive beach and home textile accessories.
Further highlighting the collaboration with Bikoff, the boutique located in the city’s 39th Street hosts three settings the interior designer conceived for the label during Milan Design Week.