Capital: € 1.7 billion
Age: 73
Born: 12/02/1946
Country of origin: Italy
Source of wealth: Entrepreneurs
Last updated: 2022

Short introduction

Gianni Versace (born December 2, 1946 – July 15, 1997) – Italian fashion designer and founder of the international fashion house Versace, which produces perfumes, cosmetics, accessories, clothing and household goods. Versace created costumes for films, theater and opera productions. He was a friend of Eric Clapton, Princess Diana of Wales, Naomi Campbell, Duran Duran, Madonna, Elton John, Cher, Sting and many other celebrities. One of the first fashion designers to combine fashion and music. Gianni and his partner Antonio d’Amiko regularly attended fashion parties.

On July 15, 1997, Versace was killed by serial killer Andrew Kunenen on the doorstep of his home, Casa Casuarina, in Miami Beach, Florida, at the age of 50.

Early life

Giovanni Maria Versace was born on December 2, 1946 in Reggio Calabria, Italy, in the family of the seamstress Francesca Versace and her husband. Gianni grew up with his older brother Santo and younger sister Donatella. Gianni Tina’s older sister died of tetanus at the age of 12. In his youth, Gianni loved the history of ancient Greece, which played a major role in the development of Italy. He attended the Lyceum Classico Tommaso Campanella, where he studied Latin and Ancient Greek, but did not finish the course. The American artist Andy Warhol also had a great influence on him.


He started his career in his hometown in the fashion studio Francesca Versace, which belonged to his mother. The studio’s main customers were representatives of wealthy families in the Calabria region – the wives of business people and top managers. Gianni helped his mother sew clothes, get accessories and also get fabrics. Here he learned sketches, drawing, cutting fabrics and sewing clothes. In 1972 Versace moved to Milan and became a guest designer of several fashion lines, including Genny, Callaghan and Complice. In 1973 he became a designer of Byblos, the youth line of the Genny fashion house, and in 1977 developed the Complice line at his own request.

On March 28, 1978, Versace presented the first women’s clothing brand collection at the Palazzo della Permanente art museum in Milan. The first full fashion show takes place in September of the same year. In 1978 Gianni opened a boutique on Milan’s most prestigious shopping street – Via della Spiga. Also in 1978, Gianni founded his own fashion house, Gianni Versace SpA, and appointed his older brother Santo as president and his sister Donatella as vice president. Donatella is responsible for creative oversight and acts as Versace’s primary advisor. Gianni is also recruiting Donatella’s husband Paul Beck as director of men’s clothing lines.

In the 1980s, Gianni developed clothing for his own brand and explored new business areas. In 1981 he launched the women’s fragrance Gianni Versace, in 1984 the men’s fragrance L’Homme. In 1982, Versace expanded its business by producing jewelry and housewares including furniture, textiles and tableware under the Versace Home brand.

In 1989, Versace declared itself in the world of haute couture and began creating haute couture collections under the Atelier Versace brand and staging shows at the Ritz Hotel in Paris. He used the best-known photographers and models for his advertising campaigns and fashion shows in the 1980s and 1990s. The products of his fashion house were represented by Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer and many others.

He cultivates the cult of top models intensively, paid his beloved fashion models fabulous fees and shaped their image as superstars in mass culture. According to Donatella Versace, “Gianni created this phenomenon by bringing the best models to the podium at the same time.”

Gianni Versace reached the height of his fame in the early 1990s with his famous clients – Madonna and Princess of Wales Diana.

Career highlights

Versace was shot by Andrew Kunenen on the steps of his Casa Casuarina mansion in Miami Beach on the morning of July 15, 1997 after returning from a walk along Ocean Drive. Usually Versace sent his assistant for the morning newspaper to the News Cafe, but on that fateful day, he decided to go himself. Versace’s death was recorded at 9:21 a.m. at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Eight days later, Künenen committed suicide in a houseboat surrounded by a police ring. Künenen was obsessed with Versace and often boasted of his acquaintance with the famous fashion designer and other famous people. FBI agents believed Versace and Kunenen met in San Francisco, but it’s not certain what kind of relationship they had. Reporter Maureen Orth published an article in Vanity Fair magazine in 2008 claiming that Künenen and Versace met in a San Francisco nightclub in 1990 and are likely to have gotten closer. However, the Versace family has always categorically denied the fact that Gianni and his killer were together.

Gianni Versace’s body was cremated and the ashes buried in a family crypt in the Maltrasio cemetery (municipality of Cernobbio) near Lake Como.

Famous quotes

Decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live. …
In the past, people were born royal. … I am not interested in the past, except as the road to the future. …
Do not go into trends. … That is the key of this collection, being yourself.


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