Just as a fashion designer manipulates exquisite materials around the beautiful natural forms on which the intricate shapes and patterns flowering in their imagination will hang, so too does an architect and, indeed, an interior designer. There are such coincidences on the creative spectrum between these design disciplines that they cross-pollinate each other constantly with ingenious and utterly organic abandon.
Palazzo Versace unveils its second ultra-luxury hotel and residential complex in Culture Village, Dubai this month. Such is the breathtakingly effortless creativity running through every seam, lintel, and custom-cut marble floor of the stunning collaboration between couture, architecture and design, that the sumptuous rooms and residences of this timeless palace are described as having been ‘dressed’.
And dressed in the unmistakable Versace style they have been; each residence boasts an expansive Grand Entrance Room that just about anchors the extraordinary light-flooded, white-saturated, almost diaphanous rooms that float like clouds around it. In their hand-laid, diamond-cut giallo siena and crema marble flooring, bordered by bespoke Versace designed mosaic, realised by the same prestigious team of artisans behind the mosaics in the first Palazzo Versace, each provides guests a clear indication of the sheer luxury and design genius they can expect throughout.
Hanging with the arch wit with which their late creator lived, gold-framed water-colour sketches of original Gianni Versace theatre and costume designs resoundingly emphasises the elite artistic pedigree of the surroundings.
Born in 1946, this icon of the late Twentieth Century had moved to Milan and designed his first prêt-à-porter collections by his late twenties, launching his own self-titled company with a women’s wear collection in 1978.
His powerful ascent changed the game on the way up fashion’s gilded ladder and, in 1989, Versace presented his first haute couture collection, simultaneously opening Atelier Versace in Paris, thus cementing his place the upper stratosphere of elite couture. He is rightly credited with spearheading the cultural movement that tied fast the popular consciousness to the world of fashion. His decision, in 1991, to send all the top contemporary models down the runway for his Autumn/Winter collection, to give them a sense of collective identity, helped mould this sassy and defiant posse of beautiful and confident young women into the first ‘Supermodels’.
This great man’s life was tragically cut short in 1997, just as he was moving into his creative prime. However, he left behind an almost mythical legacy - a seamless mix of the refined sensibility of high art, the raw sex appeal of rock’n’roll, and the pulse-quickening drama of the theatre - which electrified the imaginations of all that it touched.
The fashion house of Versace has since gone from strength to strength, guided by the wise hand of Donatella, Gianni’s sister and a revered designer in her own right. Versace stores, featuring a recently revamped stunning black and white, marble and leather motif, are among the most exclusive couture locales in the world and lend their extravagant prestige and effortless chic to a dazzling list of the world’s premier retail centres.
In 2000, the brand completed the next step in defining luxury and style in the collective sub-conscious by opening the first Palazzo Versace on the Australian Gold Coast. The first hotel branded by a luxury goods company, itself precipitating a trend followed by a host of luxury brands, it offered guests an unprecedented opportunity to literally live the Versace experience, and has gone on to become one of Australia’s most prestigious hospitality venues.
Returning to the latest Palazzo, the bedrooms of these timeless micro-palaces, which look perhaps like an embodiment of a Renaissance-era vision the future, are florid masterpieces adorned in Versace silks and linens of dreamlike light blue, lilac, cream and peach pastels. The slumber of fantasy is completed by a cavernous walk-in closet finished with its own parquet floor, bespoke designed and laid lovingly by hand.
Guests and residents at this literal house of fashion are welcomed by a dizzying array of first class and uniquely Versace leisure and relaxation services. One highlight is the world class dining facilities, which include an all day restaurant, and the indelibly simple sophistication of Italian cuisine served at both the main restaurant and the delectable afterthought of the traditional pastries and desserts found at the Pasticceria. A state of the art gym, male and female day spas, and indoor salon and swimming pool complete the exclusive and luxury pampering on offer.
Moving outside, guests are invited to luxuriate by the vast central lagoon pool, bask at a custom built sandy beach, and lounge by the private pools serving the ground floor and rooftop condominiums. A stroll outside will wind through the ornamental pools, reflection ponds, tranquil waterfalls and original sculptures by renowned artists that are found throughout the palace’s exquisitely landscaped gardens and refined public spaces.
Palazzo Versace is set overlooking Dubai Creek, a saltwater creek that has been for centuries a regional centre for fishing and the still thriving pearl trade, which lies at the heart of Culture Village. Dubai’s unique cultural hub, Culture Village is destined to become one of the global cultural centres, featuring world class opera, ballet, theatre and fashion venues, and prestige academies offering training and tuition in art, music, dance, pottery and other crafts.
The motif of water finds its nexus as the palace grounds elegantly arrive at Dubai Creek itself and the ultimate in must haves for almost any luxury jet set hideaway, a state of the art ninety berth marina.
A widescreen shot sweeping in from the tranquil waters of the Creek, past the marina, and capturing this extraordinary feast for the senses written in the unique vocabulary of the artistic and cultural visionary whose name it bears. With this, Palazzo Versace Dubai truly ties together those golden strands of couture, architecture and design; sashaying to the seafront with the swish of silk and the studied poise of a model striking their pose at the precipice of luxury found at the end of the catwalk.
- Ben Stewart
Palazzo Versace Dubai
Address: Culture Village
Tel: 971 4501 6800
Palazzo Versace Dubai