15 Things You Need To Know About Gianni Versace
Gianni Versace: the genius who went away too soon. He was the man who revolutionized the ’90s glamour, his dresses were worn by the most important figures of that time, by supermodels, celebrities and even Princess Diana.
Although he was not an instant hit, Versace managed to build a fashion empire with hard work and dedication that still thrives today, thanks to Donatella, a woman who has suffered so much and yet had enough strength to find her demons and finally win.
The Italian designer will never be forgotten by the fashion world due to his power to reinvent and his original, sometimes even risque designs.
Although Gianni’s life was rather public, there are some things you didn’t know about Gianni Versace. Keep reading!
1. His mother introduced him into the fashion world
Versace learned the art of sewing from his mother, Francesca, who was a dressmaker in Reggio Calabria, Italy. After his apprenticeship at his mother’s business, Versace moved to Milan in 1972 to become a fashion designer. He was almost 26 at that time.
Gianni Versace was greatly influenced by Greek mythology. After all, he was born in a place that was once called “Great Greece”. The brand’s logo represents Medusa, who in Greek mythology was a gorgon whose gaze with turn anyone into stone. Instead of hair, she had living venomous snakes.
However, he feminized her appearance. Rather than snakes, the logo features her beautiful hair and also her full lips.
3. Donatella was his muse
Gianni had an older brother, Santo and a little sister, Donatella. There was also an older sister who died when she was 12 because of an improperly treated infection.
While Santo was in charge with organizational tasks, such as communication, production, distribution and more, Donatella was a “muse and critic” for her older brother.
4. That dress
In 1994, Versace made Liz Hurley famous when she accompanied her ten boyfriend, Hugh Grant to the LA premiere of his film, Four Weddings and a Funeral. She wore a black dress held together by gold safety pins.
5. He appreciated Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld and Christian Lacroix
In 1990, the year of his first Haute Couture collection, Gianni Versace was interviewed by Women’s Wear Daily.
During that interview he said that while he has no competition in Italy, the only designers go stiil gave him “energy to fight” were Yves Saint Laurent, Kard Lagerfeld and Christian Lacroix.
6. Dressing the best of the best
In the ’80s, Versace dressed musicians such as Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Sting, Eric Clapton, Prince and Sir Elton John.
Sir Elton John became a close friend of Gianni, who called him “a sweetheart” during a Vogue interview. Also, Sir Elton John appeared in The Sunday Times dressed in Versace.
7. Casa Casuarina’s pool
Versace purchased Casa Casuarina in 1992 for $2,9 million to become his residence in South Beach, Miami. He completely restored the house.
Versace reportedly had the pool made in Italy, then broken down in sections and mailed to the United States. The famous pool features 100 million Italian mosaic tiles and the pool statues were purchased from a 16th century château in France
8. Family love
Although he did not have kids of his own, Gianni took great care of his nieces and nephews. In his will, Gianni left 50% of his fashion empire to Allegra, Donatella’s daughter. She inherited her stake, worth around half a billion dollars when she turned 18. His nephew, Daniel was given Versace’s artwork collection.
9. Family feuds
Versace met his partner, Antonio D’Amico in 1982. In his will, Gianni left Antonio with a pension and the right to live in any of Versace’s homes. However, the homes belonged to the company and not Gianni himself but Antonio managed to get a part of the pension and a restricted right to live in the homes.
Apparently, Donatella was never close to Antonio. After Gianni’s death she said :“My relationship with Antonio is exactly as it was when Gianni was alive. I respected him as the boyfriend of my brother, but I never liked him as a person. So the relationship stayed the same.”
10. He wanted Donatella to carry on without him
Gianni was killed at the time he was working on his new collection with Donatella. In a statement, she said that although she could have walked away, Gianni would have wanted her to continue. And she did.
11. Wrong place, wrong time
Every morning, an assistant would go to a coffee shop to purchase Versace’s newspapers. However, on the 15th of July 1997, Gianni decided to go there himself. He was shot by Andrew Cunanan on the steps of Casa Casuarina. At that time, Cunanan was already on FBI’s Most Wanted list.
12. The Mafia controversy
13 years after his death, a former member of the Calabrian Mafia, stated that Versace was actually murdered because of the money he owned to the Mafia. The Versace family responded to the allegations claiming they are “false and shameful”.
13. Celebrating life
After his death, a benefit was held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute in New York to celebrate the life of Gianni Versace. Also, 10 years later, a ballet performance was held at Milan’s La Scala opera house as a tribute for the late designer.
14. Health issues
Shortly before his tragic death, Gianni Versace was diagnosed with cancer of the ear. It is believed that that was the only time when the three siblings did not get along.
15. The funeral
Gianni’s family held a private memorial service the day after he died, in Miami. Then, the second memorial service was held in Milan and was attended by approximately two thousand people, including Naomi Campbell (Gianni’s favorite model), Sir Elton John and Princess Diana.
We hope you enjoyed our list of facts about Gianni Versace! How many of these facts you already knew? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
Also, make sure to check out our list of facts you probably didn’t know about Coco Chanel!