Shots Of Versace
Essential Homme|Spring 2020
How photographer Doug Ordway became instrumental in developing Versace’s opulent image.
Robert Quick

Portrait of Doug Ordway.

In the ‘90s, the fashion landscape changed course. The previous decade had been about excess and decadence and the next was a rebellion to the hollowness of consumerism. Powerdressing and new wave were replaced by grunge and minimalism. If the ‘80s embraced visible affluence, the ‘90s condemned it.

Versace Uomo (Spring/Summer 1993).

Yet one brand remained defiant in its commitment to the grandiose; the loud and sensational appeal of Versace was the perfect antidote for the time. Founded by Gianni Versace in 1978, the label has consistently delivered royally opulent collections—over 40 years later, in every way, shape, and form the label remains married to maximalism.

Gianni Versace & Stephanie Seymour photographed in Paris (July 1992).

The brand’s extensive catalog of imagery is one of the greatest relics of its legacy. Versace’s flamboyant campaigns were a welcome contrast to the raw and gritty images that were being popularized by emerging photographers like Corinne Day and Davide Sorrenti. Established names like Mario Testino and Herb Ritts each lent their talents to the label, contributing their own pieces to its captivating universe. One lesser-known figure who also captured some of the label’s most distinguished images was photographer Doug Ordway.

Versus Perfume Campaign (July 1991).

Despite producing some of Versace's most recognizable images, Ordway has a fairly minimal footprint in the larger context of the designer’s history. He’s the man behind the curtain, and there’s a slight disparity with his innate privacy after being involved with one of the biggest designers in the world. But he l ikes the mystery.

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