March 1, 2016

Gianni Versace, Junior High School & Mary Stallings ~ 1997

On March 1, 1997, near the end of the 20 year period when I produced fashion shows, I received an invitation to attend an event which was to be held on April 2 at the Versace fashion boutique on Post Street in San Francisco.    

 photos by Styrous®

It was a beautiful, low-key extravaganza with models informally showing the Versace fashions in the thick of the elegantly attired crowd. There were trays with glasses of fine wine passed around by men in tuxedos and delicious hors d'oeuvres being offered by women in spiffy uniforms. 

During the event one of my life cycles came around. The entertainment for the evening was a fantastic jazz combo and much to my surprise, the singer with the group turned out to be Mary Stallings, one of my school mates from junior high school of forty or so years earlier. What a blast THAT was! I remembered her in school; she was thin as a rail, tall as an oak and sang her heart out every chance she got.  

Photo by Mars Breslow

As she was working, I only had a few minutes to talk to her but I found out she had become an accomplished jazz vocalist. She had sung with various jazz musicians, including, Cal Tjader. She has since played the Monterey Jazz Festival, the San Francisco Jazz Festival and Georgia's Savannah Music Festival. She sang at the Jazz at Lincoln Center venue in 2007. It was fun but a bit nostalgic running into her after all those years at a time I was bringing one cycle of my life to a close.    

the gifts cycle 

There were gifts given to the attendees of the fashion event. Of the many items offered, I ended up with the Versace Teatro set commemorating the 1987 book, Versace Teatro. it consisted of a huge silk scarf and a set of 22 cards featuring images from the book. Each card featured drawings of costumes Versace created for various opera and ballet productions (links to both below)

Giovanni Versace scarf ~ 1997
photo by Styrous®

Versace Teatro costume cards
photo by Styrous®

I still have both the scarf and the card set and I am thinking about selling them on eBay, which would bring another cycle in my life full circle

Three and a half months after this event, Giovanni Versace was murdered outside his Miami Beach home by Andrew Cunanan on July 15, 1997. Versace was 50 years old. 

Versace's Miami Beach mansion (Casa Casuarina) 2009
photo by Chensiyuan

photo by Aaron Rapoport, circa 1982
Giovanni Versace (Italian pronunciation: [ˈdʒanni verˈsaːtʃe], was born Giovanni Maria Versace on December 2, 1946. He was an Italian fashion designer and the founder of Versace, an international fashion house, which produces accessories, fragrances, make-up and home furnishings as well as clothes. He also designed costumes for the theatre and films. He was a friend to Diana, Princess of Wales and, of course, fashion model Naomi Campbell. He was chum with music personalities such as Madonna, Elton John, Cher, Sting and many others; he was the first designer to link fashion to the music world. Openly gay, Versace and his partner Antonio D'Amico were regulars on the international party scene. - Wikipedia   

"I want to be a designer for my time."
                                       - Gianni Versace

Net links:
Versace Teatro scarf ~ 1997     
Versace Teatro ~ costume cards     
Gianni Versace website     
Mary Stallings website     
Mary Stallings on YouTube      

Styrous® ~ Tuesday, March 1, 2016

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