Media Blog #7 – Semiotic Investigation – Versace

Frankly I think this one is weak – it doesn’t really have much to do with semiotics. I also think Versace’s story is a bit sexist! “Allowed Poseidon to seduce her”. Really!

Choose a logo for a actually brand or product. Analyze it semiotically. How does the logo function as a symbol? How does it function as an icon? How do these meanings differentiate the brand?

This is my brand, Versace. Since its inception in 1978 ‘Versace’ has been a watchword for quality: Fierce, fabulous, fearless – Versace is everything you want to be and more.

How does this logo communicate the daring beauty of the Versace lifestyle? What does Versace have to teach us about living dangerously? Look to Ancient Greece – home of Heracles, Perseus, and the great hero Odysseus. Medusa, who had lustfully allowed Poseidon to seduce her1 in the temple of Aphrodite, dominates the Versace logo. Her face foregrounds a circle bearing the “Greek key” motif, also known as the “meander” – after the twisting river of Homer’s Iliad. The meander symbolises infinity – the eternal flow of things. Life, love, passion – the eternal bond between man and man and woman and woman. Beauty itself is held to be eternal. Something in Medusa’s raised eyebrow speaks to us – “Can you meet the Versace challenge?”. She petrifies us with her beautiful eyes, her luscious lips – frozen, stopped dead in our tracks. “Beauty is a curse”.

Her looks and her legend speak to a greater passion – triumph, conquest, heroic vice and virtue – the boldest rebuke of mediocrity. Versace himself could be likened to Jason and his Argonauts – his quest for the golden fleece. Versace sets itself apart with a brash tackiness unlike that of its competitors, Gucci, Armani and Prada. Where Gucci is tacky, Versace has the guts to pull it off. Armani’s pretensions toward a smooth professionalism are swept away in the sheer spectacle of Versace living, and Prada simply isn’t worth mentioning. Versace channels the pioneer spirit of Greece’s adventurer-kings – breaking new ground, battling the tyranny of stale fashion – that’s the Versace way.


1. Accounts differ, but this is the version Versace gives.

“battling” needs replacing.

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