Giovanni Maria “Gianni” Versace was born on December 2, 1946. He was the brains behind Versace. His works and achievements in the global fashion industry have made competitors hold him in high regard. Versace’s attitude and innovations in the fashion industry brought him success. One of his notable innovations was changing the occupants of runway front rows. This change was an act that critics had bashed, but this made him a pioneer of what would become a milestone achievement for many designers. His death was a massive loss to his family and the fashion world.
Gianni Versace’s success in the fashion industry is not a product of luck; but rather a combination of family heritage, talent, determination, and the willingness to break barriers. Born in Reggio Calabria to Francesca, a seamstress, Versace grew up alongside his older brother, Santos, and younger sister, Donatella. He started learning dressmaking from his mother and would go to her stall to learn new designs. Whatever Versace learned from his mother, he implemented it for better use.
He began his fashion career as a designer for the Italian company, Genny, in 1973. He worked there for a few years and acquired valuable skills and experience before moving to Milan to establish his boutique in 1978. In 1982, Versace began what set him aside from other designers. He created a type of super lightweight chainmail named Oroton, which became one of his signature collections. In the same year, Versace met his future partner, Antonio D’Amico. As a designer with eyes for talent, he discovered supermodels Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, and many others he featured in his fashion shows. Versace is best known as the first person to link the music world to fashion. He created lasting friendships with music stars like Elton John, Tupac Shakur, and Madonna. He even befriended royals like Diana, Princess of Wales, who he would invite to most of his shows.
Besides creating different designs for the public, Versace also specialized in making costumes for theater productions and several musicians. After winning a battle against cancer, Versace was shot in the head by Andrew Cunanan on July 15, 1997. He was pronounced dead at exactly 9:21 A.M. at the hospital. His siblings carried on the brand and legacy, and he willed 50% of his company to his younger sister’s child, Allegra.
Versace begins his career as a designer at Byblos, a fashion line under Genny.
He opens his first boutique in Milan.
The Italian Government decorates Versace with the title, “Commendatore della Repubblica Italiana.”
He is awarded the ‘American Fashion Oscar.’
Versace stars in the T.V. show "Look."
Versace posthumously receives the America Award in Memory from the Italy-America Foundation.
Why We Love Gianni Versace
He was a pioneer of many fashion inventions
Versace was not just any designer but one that breached the norms in the fashion world to come up with new trends, including super lightweight chainmail called Oroton. He would often break the conventional rules of color and glamor.
He is family-oriented
Besides employing his two siblings to work in his fashion company, Versace also maintains strong bonds with his nephews and nieces. He was closest to his sister, Donatella, and his partner, Antonio D’Amico.
He built the bridge between fashion and music
Versace's radical approaches in the fashion world earned him the honor of being foremost in linking music to the fashion world. He often styled famous musicians such as Elton John and Michael Jackson when they walked the runway.
5 Surprising Facts
He had another older sibling
Besides his older brother, Santos, Versace had another sister, Tina, who died from tetanus.
He was a pioneer
Versace is the first designer to invite celebrities to his shows and have them sit in the first rows.
Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney's costume designs
He designed the costumes Jackson and McCartney wore in the music video of their song, ‘Say Say Say.’
He was cremated
Versace's remains were cremated, and his ashes were buried at Moltrasio cemetery.
His last fashion show
His last fashion show was held at the Ritz Hotel in Paris a week before his death.
Gianni Versace FAQs
Why is Gianni Versace so famous?
Versace is globally famous for its versatility in different types of fashion wear. Their attire ranges from exotic wear to theatrical costumes and even music video costumes for musicians.
Who is the current owner of Versace?
The creative department and the business entity are managed by Donatella Versace.
Who inherited Gianni Versace's fortune?
Before his death, Versace willed 50% of his company’s fortune to Allegra (his niece). The remaining shares were split among other family members.
Gianni Versace’s birthday dates