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The Life and Death of Gianni Versace

by Richard Zakroff on March 13, 2017

To most people, the name Versace means cool, edgy, high fashion, but to people who knew the designer personally, it means so much more. From his early years as a child with a love for fashion, to his impressive career as a young designer, to his sudden and tragic death, Versace’s story has been shared and discussed for years. While the events surrounding his death may remain a mystery, one thing is certain—Versace’s obvious talents and unique artistic vision helped to solidify his name in the fashion industry for years beyond his death.


Early Years

As a child, Gianni Versace was submerged in the world of fashion, constantly surrounded by creative influences. He began learning from his mother, who was a successful dressmaker and owned her own business. From a young age, he showed an interest in fashion and was eager to explore the world of design and make a name for himself. After finishing high school and working for his mother, Gianni moved on to become a freelance designer for several years.


Exceptional Style

Ready for the world to see his designs, Versace launched his first collection of ready-to-wear women’s clothing in 1978. The designer had quickly developed an unmistakable style of glamour, extravagance, and drama, and earned his reputation as a pioneer in revolutionary fashion design. Very much an innovator, Gianni often used unconventional textiles and materials in his designs. He was constantly thinking outside of the box and pushing the boundaries of the usual fashions of his time, often using cutting-edge techniques to enhance his designs and customize every aspect of his work.


Personal Life

Shortly after the launch, and following a few years of incredible success in the industry, Gianni began seeing Antonio D’Amico, an Italian model and fashion designer. The pair would remain in the public spotlight throughout Versace’s career, and they would remain a couple until his death.


Recognition and Success

Versace’s name became one that brought with it an air of drama and awe. His career was highlighted with many awards and recognition, and his designs can even be seen in museums and on stage in pop culture performances of music and dance. Versace’s line transcended the realms of fashion, music, and art, and the designer became respected for his artistry all over the globe.


Tragic Death

The designer’s successful career and life came to an end suddenly on July 15, 1997 when he was tragically shot dead on the steps of his Miami, Florida mansion. The shooter was 50-year-old Andrew Cunanan, an American serial killer who shortly after firing, ended his own life. The details surrounding Versace’s murder remain a mystery, and have sparked controversy as rumors of the designer’s alleged ties to the mafia surfaced. Although there is no official statement linking any truth to these allegations, it remains a topic of interest in the media.


Versace Today

Today, the Versace name is carried on by the designer’s sister, Donatella. Both she and Gianni had learned the ropes of the fashion world from their mother, and it was natural for Donatella to take the reins as creative director and carry on the family name. Versace’s designs are still highly sought after today, and though they have evolved through the decades, they’ve withstood the test of time as an influential force of creativity and innovative design.