|Birth Date:||2 December 1946|
|Birth Place:||Reggio Calabria, Italy|
|Death Place:||Miami Beach, Florida, U.S.|
|Resting Place:||Near Cernobbio, Italy|
|Awards:||1993: American Fashion Oscar|
1986: Commendatore della Repubblica Italiana
|Partner:||Antonio D'Amico (1982-1997)|
|Relatives:||Donatella Versace (sister)|
Santo Versace (brother)
Gianni 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 Madonna, Elton John, Cher, Sting, and Diana, Princess of Wales among many others. 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.
Gianni 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, Tina, died at the age of 12 from an improperly treated tetanus infection.
Versace began his apprenticeship at a young age, helping his mother find precious stones and gold braid with which to embroider dresses. 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 menswear collection 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, Ancient Roman and Greek art as well as modern abstract art.
Versace met his partner Antonio D'Amico, a model, in 1982. The couple embarked on a long-term relationship that lasted 15 years, until Versace's murder. During that time D'Amico worked as a designer for the company, becoming head designer for Istante and Versus Sport. Versace's will left D'Amico with a pension of 50 million lire (about $26,000) a month (for life), and the right to live in any of Versace's homes in Italy and the United States. However, due to Versace familial interference he only obtained a fraction of these allowances. D'Amico now runs his own fashion company.
Versace was known for doting upon his nieces and nephews: Santo's two children, Francesca and Antonio Versace, and Donatella's two children, Allegra and Daniel Versace.
Versace was shot dead on July 15, 1997, aged 50, on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion as he returned from a morning walk on Ocean Drive. It was his custom to take a stroll to a coffee shop that received international periodicals, to read the Italian-language newspapers. He was murdered by Andrew Cunanan, who used the same gun to commit suicide on a boat several days later. Police have said they do not know why Versace was killed. "I don't know that we are ever going to know the answers," said Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Barreto. Versace's body was cremated and his ashes returned to the family's estate near Cernobbio, Italy.
In his will, Gianni Versace left 50 percent of his fashion empire to his niece Allegra Versace. Her younger brother, Daniel, inherited Versace's rare artwork collection. Allegra inherited her stake, worth around half a billion dollars, when she turned 18 in 2004.
Versace was involved in numerous onscreen projects.