Gianni Versace: biography of the famous Italian designer, assassinated in 1997

A creative, exceptional life, which ended too soon and too cruelly under a gunshot. Gianni Versace was the young soul of the best Italian fashion and conquered the world in a few years with his energy by him. And to think that it all started in a small tailoring workshop in Calabria…! Gianni as a kid and a hunger to learn, to imitate his mother Di lui, the story of a great Italian designer who has enchanted the great stars of the show as well as the ladies next door. And if his star of him suddenly disappeared, the myth was born soon after. 

Gianni Versace, Calabria and dreams

Giovanni Maria Versace was born in Reggio Calabria on 2 December 1946 . The seamstress mother has no time to look after her children di lei-besides Gianni, Santo the eldest and little Donatella-who actually grow up in her workshop di lei, amidst fabric scraps and patterns. Gianni is the most fascinated by his mother’s work di lei and he copies or imitates her work di lei since he was a teenager.  He began his career as a stylist near the Duomo , in Reggio Calabria, where the family has a small atelier.

Later he moved to Milan to pursue his dream, without ever forgetting his homeland, which often and willingly peeps out of Gianni’s works and collections.

Calabria, the South of Italy, as a creative inspiration in a combination of classic and modern, from Magna Graecia to the present day. A tour in ancient and modern history, projected on catwalks all over the world.

As he himself stated in an interview:

“Reggio is the kingdom where the story of my life began: my mother’s tailor’s shop, the Haute Couture boutique. The place where, as a child, I began to appreciate the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Aeneid, where I began to breathe the art of Magna Graecia. ” 

At the age of twenty he has his first collection ready and at twenty-nine he goes to present it in Milan, after a few years of apprenticeship. It was 1975 and suddenly the dreams and fantasies of that little boy from the south come true on a catwalk.

In 1978 he can finally show his name and open his first personal atelier.


The first winning idea is that of the partnership with photographer Richard Avedon who, by shooting his fashion shows, makes the brand known in the United States. Other successful collaborations will follow, with characters from the theater, cinema, with other exponents of fashion. Among the many collaborations with the world of theater (which Gianni adores), we have the creation, for example, of the costumes for Don Pasquale  by Gaetano Donizetti and for  Dyonisos , directed by Maurice Bejart at the Piccolo Teatro, or even the costumes for the ‘work Josephslegende  by Richard Strauss.

Gianni creates vibrant, extravagant clothes, with elements (for example metal!) That anticipate the times

Everyone is fascinated by his creations. Everyone wants to wear them. In Hollywood it becomes a recurring name. The royals of half of Europe love his colors by him. Lady Diana, Elton John, Naomi Campbell are some of his testimonials of him. The company also expands to the United States and Versace opens its first branches in New York.

For his advertising campaigns and his fashion shows Gianni Versace has always made use of the most famous photographers in circulation and above all of the most famous models of the moment, thus becoming the advocate of the “top model” phenomenon, which have now become the main protagonists in the world of fashion. . In fact, high-sounding names have paraded for Gianni Versace, such as Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell , Claudia Schiffer , Yasmeen Ghauri, Christy Turlington, Stephanie Seymour, Cindy Crawford , Helena Christensen, Nadja Auermann, Carla Bruni and Karen Mulder.

Death and inheritance of Versace

At the height of his success and glory, Versace’s life was abruptly shut down by the gunshot fired by an American drug addict acquaintance, Andrew Cunanan, at his Miami mansion on July 15, 1997. Versace’s body was cremated in Miami. and the urn with his ashes di lui was deposited in the family tomb, in the villa on Lake Como, and was later finally moved to the cemetery of Moltrasio, where today it rests in peace.

Thus Gianni Versace’s earthly tale ends in the summer of 1997, but his inheritance – moral and stylistic – takes off from that moment on.

The experiments – leather and silk, plastic and metal on the fabric, extravagant colors and prints – alternate with a truly unique display of class made up of adhesions, glazes, high heels and references to the clothing of the ancient Romans!

Versace’s winning move will always be to amaze, even where there is no need.

The scandal, the rebellion only serve to draw attention to the model, which is always and only the only final protagonist.

Versace company today

After Gianni’s death, the heirs of his fortunes and his economic burden were the brothers Santo and Donatella, while on the death of Gianni Donatella’s daughter (Allegre Versace Beck) becomes the controlling shareholder of the company, obtaining the shares of her uncle.

In fact , it is Donatella Versace who still manages the brand today and she too, perfectly following her brother’s style, focuses everything on clamor. To then, however, produce garments of great beauty and a high depth of charm.

In fact, however, the ownership of the Versace company passed in September 2018 to the Michael Kors Limited group, and in January 2019, Gianni Versace Srl became part of the Capri Holdings Limited group, together with other brands such as Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo . . The Versace family, and specifically Donatella, however, continue to retain a role in the company. In this way, Gianni Versace’s legacy will remain firm.