Gianni Versace

Gianni Versace (Brn Giovanni Maria Versace; December 2, 1946 - July 15, 1997) was an Italian fashion designer and founder of Gianni Versace S.p.A., an international fashion house, which produces accessories, fragrances, makeup and home furnishings as well as clothes. He also designed costumes for the theatre and films, and was a friend of Eric Clapton, Diana, Princess of Wales, Madonna, Elton John, Cher, Sting and many other celebrities. Openly gay, Versace and his partner Antonio D'Amico were regulars on the international party scene. Versace was murdered outside his Miami Beach home, the former Casa Casuarina now known as "The Villa By Barton G.", at the age of 50 by spree killer Andrew Cunanan.

Early Life

Giovanni Maria Versace was born in Reggio Calabria, Italy, on December 2, 1946, where he grew up with his older brother Santo and younger sister Donatella, along with their father and dressmaker mother, Francesca. An older sister, Fortunata, nicknamed Tinuccia, died at the age of 9 from peritonitis. Alternative source says that this sister was named Tina and died at the age of 12 from an improperly treated tetanus infection.
Versace began his apprenticeship at a young age, as his mother ran a sewing workshop and employed up to a dozen seamstresses. He studied architecture before moving to Milan at the age of 26 to work in fashion design.

In the mid-1970s, his knits drew the attention of headhunters at Genny and Callaghan. Complice hired him to design their leather and suede collections, and a few years later, encouraged by his success, Versace presented his first signature collection for women at the Palazzo della Permanente Art Museum of Milan. His first fashion show followed in September of the same year. After presenting his menswear collection he joined Jorge Saud, who would later also become a partner with Giorgio Armani. The first boutique was opened in Milan's Via della Spiga in 1978. He was influenced by Andy Warhol, as well as Ancient Roman and Greek art and also abstract art.
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