Giovanni Maria ” Gianni ” Versace was on December 2, 1946 and he was one of the biggest Italian business men and fashion designer and the founder of Versace, an international fashion house that produces accessories, fragrances, makeup, home furnishings and clothing. 

Gianni Versace Biography

Versace was born in the city of Reggio Calabria on December 2, 1946, and grew up with his older brother Santo Versace and younger sister Donatella Versace, along with his father and mother, a dressmaker, Francesca.  An older sister, Tina, died at age 12 due to a poorly treated tetanus infection. 

He was heavily influenced by ancient Greek history , which dominates the historical landscape of his birthplace. He was attending the Classic High School Tommaso Campanella, where he was studying Latin and ancient Greek, without completing the course. He was also influenced by Andy Warhol .

Versace began his apprenticeship at a young age, in his mother’s sewing business, which employed as many as a dozen seamstresses .  He became interested in architecture before moving to Milan , Italy, at the age of 26 to work in fashion design .

In 1973, he became the designer of “Byblos“, a successful junior line for Genny , and in 1977 he designed Complice, another more experimental line for Genny. 

A few years later, buoyed by his success, Versace presented his first signature collection for women at the Palazzo Della Permanente Museum of Art in Milan. 

His first fashion show of his followed in September of the same year. His first boutique opened on Via della Spiga in Milan in 1978.

Gianni Versace Career

After opening his boutique in Milan in 1978, Versace quickly became a sensation on the international fashion scene. His designs used bright colors, bold prints and sexy cuts, which were a refreshing contrast to the prevailing taste for muted colors and simplicity. 

His aesthetic “combined luxurious classicism with open sexuality“, drawing much criticism as well as praise. 

He is quoted as saying “I don’t believe in good taste”, which was reflected in his “shameless defiance of the rules of fashion”.  A saying referring to Versace’s rivalry with Giorgio Armani was: “Armani dresses the wife, Versace dresses the mistress.” 

Beginning in 1978, Versace built the company with the support of his family, employing his sister Donatella as vice president and his brother Santo as company president. 

Donatella’s reach extended to creative supervision, where she acted as a key consultant to Versace. Gianni would also go on to employ Donatella’s husband, Paul Beck, as director of menswear. 

Among Versace’s most famous innovations was his invention in 1982 of a type of superlight chainmail called ‘Oroton‘, which became a signature material for his outfits. 

His suits were more inspired by her experience in women’s tailoring, drawing from the male models of Savile Row by crafting suits that accentuate the male form and “insist on men as sexual objects”. 

Versace was very proud of his southern Italian heritage and infused his designs with motifs inspired by historical fashion and art movements, especially Greco-Roman art. 

This is evident in the company logo, the Medusa head, and recurring motifs such as the Greek key. He also allowed his love of contemporary art to inspire his work, creating graphic prints based on the art of Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol

In 1982, Versace expanded the business into jewelry and housewares, designing luxury furniture, porcelain, and home textiles. He was unusual in retaining complete creative control over all aspects of his company. 

In 1989, the firm expanded into haute couture with the launch of Atelier Versace. He became known for employing celebrities in its marketing campaigns and placing them in the front rows of its fashion shows, being the first to do so. 

He is also credited with inventing the supermodel fashion of the 1990s, by discovering and introducing top supermodels such as Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, and Linda Evangelista, all of whom she featured both on the runway and in her ad campaigns.

At the time of his death, Versace’s empire was valued at $807 million and included 130 boutiques around the world.

Throughout his career, Versace was a prolific costume designer for stage productions and performing artists.  He stated, “for me theater is liberation”, and his designs were well served by his penchant for bold colours, draperies, embellishments and an encyclopedic knowledge of fashion history. 

He was a collaborator at the Teatro La Scala Ballet in Milan, and designed the costumes for Strauss’s ballet Josephs Legende in 1982 and Donizetti’s Don Pasquale . 

He was also designing the costumes for five Béjart Ballet productions: Dionysos (1984), Leda and the Swan (1987),Malraux ou la Métamorphoses des Dieux (1986), Chaka Zulu (1989), and the Ballet du XXme Siècle . 

In 1990, he designed the costumes for the San Francisco Opera’s production of Capriccio . Versace styled Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney in his 1983 “Say Say Say” video and Elton John‘s wardrobe for his 1992 world tour. 

Gianni Versace Filmography

Versace participated in numerous film projects. 

  • Spice World (1997) – Scenes were cut due to his death before the premiere.
  • Catwalk (a documentary released in 1996 filmed in 1993)
  • VH1 Fashion and Music Awards (1995, movie)
  • Look (1994, TV show) 
Gianni Versace Awards And Tributes
  • Versace received the Oscar for American fashion on February 1, 1993.
  • The President of the Italian Republic, Francesco Cossiga, awarded him the decoration of Commendatore della Repubblica Italiana on January 24, 1986.
  • Elton John dedicated his 1997 album The Big Picture to Versace.
  • In July 2007, a specially written ballet was performed at La Scala, Milan, to mark the tenth anniversary of the fashion designer’s death. Thanks Gianni, With Love was created by French choreographer Maurice Béjart, for whom Versace designed many stage costumes.
  • In 2009 the Russian Versace fan club was founded. There are 1,500 members (July 2012). The fan club is known for its conferences, excursions and actions dedicated to Gianni Versace. The club’s staff is located in St. Petersburg, Russia.
  • He received the America Award in memory of the Italy-USA Foundation. USA in 2017.

Gianni Versace Killer

Versace was murdered by Andrew Cunanan, an assassin who had previously murdered four other men (including real estate developer Lee Miglin). Cunanan committed suicide on a houseboat eight days after Versace’s murder. 

Cunanan was obsessed with the designer and often boasted of his close “friendship” with Versace, although this was symptomatic of Cunanan’s delusions of grandeur: he often falsely claimed to have met celebrities. 

Gianni Versace Death

On the morning of July 15, 1997, Versace strolled down Ocean Drive to retrieve his morning papers. Versace usually had an assistant walk from his house to the coffee shop to pick up his morning papers, but this time, he decided to go himself. 

Versace had returned and was walking up the steps of his Miami Beach mansion when he was shot in the head at point-blank range with a .40-caliber Taurus PT100. 

He was later pronounced dead at Jackson Memorial Hospital at 9:21 am. He was 50 years old at the time of his death. Versace’s murder was witnessed by his former UK senior stylist, Dean Aslett, who was on vacation in South Beach, Miami, and had party with Versace a few days earlier. 

However, FBI agents strongly believe that Versace and Cunanan had previously met in San Francisco, although what their relationship involved remains a mystery. 

Maureen Orth published a 2008 article in Vanity Fair reporting that Cunanan and Versace had briefly met in a San Francisco nightclub in 1990 (according to various eyewitness statements) and would definitely have interacted on other occasions because they were both involved in sexual relationships. rental circles in Miami and San Francisco. 

However, Versace’s family has always adamantly denied that the two ever met.  Police have said they do not know why Versace was killed. “I don’t know if we’ll ever know the answers,” said Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Barreto. 

His body was cremated and his ashes returned to the family estate near Cernobbio, Italy, and interred in the family vault at the Moltrasio Cemetery near Lake Como. 

Versace’s funeral liturgy, held at Milan Cathedral, was attended by more than 2,000 people, including Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, Elton John, and Diana, Princess of Wales, who died in a car accident just over a month later. 

In September 1997, the estate announced that Versace’s brother Santo would be the new CEO of Gianni Versace SpA, while Versace’s sister Donatella would become the new head of design.

In his will, Versace left 50% of his fashion empire to his niece, Allegra Versace. She and her younger brother Daniel inherited Versace’s rare collection of artwork. Allegra inherited her stake, worth approximately $500 million, when she turned 18 in 2004.

Gianni Versace House

He was living in Miami Beach mansion , Casa Casuarina.

Gianni Versace Net Worth

His net worth, or what it might have been, has also intrigued those who have followed the Italian native’s brand, which is now run by Gianni’s sister, Donatella. 

According to Forbes magazine, based on the fact that the Versace brand was recently valued at around $1.4 billion, his net worth would have been estimated at around $680 million.

Gianni Versace Private Life

Versace met his partner Antonio D’Amico, a model, in 1982. Their relationship lasted until Versace’s murder. Before his death, Versace was diagnosed with ear cancer. 

Versace was known for his adoring nephews: Santo’s two children, Francesca and Antonio, and Donatella’s two children, Allegra and Daniel.

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