Gianni Versace: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Him

23 March 2016

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.

15 Things You Didn't Know About Gianni Versace | Gianni Versace
Gianni Versace via vogue.co.uk

2. Medusa

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.

15 Things You Didn't Know About Gianni Versace |The logo
The logo via pinterest.com

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.

15 Things You Didn't Know About Gianni Versace | Gianni and Donatella in 1996
Gianni and Donatella in 1996 via time.com

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.

15 Things You Didn't Know About Gianni Versace | Liz Hurley and Hugh Grant
Liz Hurley and Hugh Grant via pinterest.com

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.

15 Things You Didn't Know About Gianni Versace | YSL and Lagerfeld in 1982
YSL and Lagerfeld in 1982 via pinterest.com

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.

15 Things You Didn't Know About Gianni Versace | Sir Elton John and Gianni
Sir Elton John and Gianni via pinterest.com

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

15 Things You Didn't Know About Gianni Versace |Casa Casuarina's pool
Casa Casuarina’s pool via pinterest.com

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.

15 Things You Didn't Know About Gianni Versace |Gianni and his niece, Allegra
Gianni and his niece, Allegra via vivaversace.tumblr.com

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.”

15 Things You Didn't Know About Gianni Versace |Gianni and his partner, Antonio
Gianni and his partner, Antonio via www.corriere.it

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.

15 Things You Didn't Know About Gianni Versace | Donatella and Gianni
Donatella and Gianni via ofakind.com

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 CasuarinaAt that time, Cunanan was already on FBI’s Most Wanted list.

15 Things You Didn't Know About Gianni Versace |Casa Casuarina
Casa Casuarina via homesoftherich.net

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”.

15 Things You Didn't Know About Gianni Versace
Gianni via elpais.com

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.

15 Things You Didn't Know About Gianni Versace |Gianni, Naomi Campbell and Carla Bruni
Gianni, Naomi Campbell and Carla Bruni via popsugar.com

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 Things You Didn't Know About Gianni Versace | Santo, Gianni and Donatella
Santo, Gianni and Donatella via pinterest.com

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.

15 Things You Didn't Know About Gianni Versace |Gianni
Gianni via vogue.co.uk

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!