December 2, 1946
July 15, 1997
“In the past, people were born royal. Nowadays, royalty comes from what you do.”
With his larger-than-life designs and savvy business sense, Gianni Versace fused fashion and celebrity pop culture in unprecedented ways.
Versace’s career began as an apprentice in his mother’s tailor shop in
. It was there that Versace learned about making clothes, transforming his mother’s lessons into his future fashion empire. Reggio Calabria, Italy
At the age of 25, Versace moved to
, where he designed collections for leading fashion houses. After six years, he launched his own label. Milan, Italy
Versace oversaw the conceptualization of his label’s provocative campaigns and runway shows. He collaborated with American photographer Richard Avedon on Versace advertisements. He became the lead designer for Madonna, Jon Bon Jovi and Princess Diana, among others. Versace used his celebrity clients in print ads and on the runway, connecting haute couture to music, movies and media.
In 1988, Versace was named “the most innovative and creative designer in the world” by the jury of the Cutty Sark Award. In 1993, the Council of Fashion Designers of America honored him with the American Fashion Oscar.
Versace unabashedly embraced his sexuality, becoming one of
’s first public figures to come out. He worked closely with the Elton John AIDS Foundation and used his celebrity status to raise awareness. Italy
July 15, 1997, at the peak of his career, Versace was murdered outside his home. His body was found by his partner of 15 years, Antonio D’Amico. Miami
At Gianni's death, the House of Versace's estimated worth was $1 billion.
- “A Flair for Fashion.” PBS. July 17, 1997
- Cole, Shaun. “Versace, Gianni (1946-1997).” GLBTQ: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, & Queer Culture. 2002
- “Gianni Versace – Biography.” Fashion-Forum.org. June 12, 2008
- Lemon, Brendan. “Gianni Versace – 1946-1997.” The Advocate. January 20, 1998
- Spindler, Amy M. “Gianni Versace, 50, the Designer Who Infused Fashion With Life and Art.” The New York Times. July 16, 1997
- Tyson, Melissa. “Italian Fashion House of Gianni Versace.” Life in Italy. June 11, 2008
- “Times Topics: Gianni Versace.” The New York Times.
- Official House of Versace Website