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Gianni Versace

Gianni Versace (December 2, 1946July 15, 1997) was a fashion designer and occasional photographer from southern Italy.

Versace was born to a family who owned a tailoring store in Reggio Calabria. As a young boy, he learned to design and make his own clothes. Several of his designs were sold at the family store.

Versace's first career success came in 1972, when he was contracted by a company to create a collection. In 1974, his name was seen on his own designs for the first time when he signed with the Complices trademark. In 1978, he opened his first boutique.

In 1985, his Instante collection hit the store stands.

Versace became a world-wide famous fashion designer alongside Ralph Lauren, Oscar De La Renta, Carlota Alfaro, and Giorgio Armani. He was a personal designer for famous celebrities such as Courtney Love, Jon Bon Jovi, Elton John and others. Versace was particularly known for his innovative designs in leather.

Versace was awarded the coveted American Fashion Oscar, on February 1, 1993.

In 1992 Gianni Versace moved to Miami Beach, Florida and purchased a home at 1116 Ocean Drive formerly known as the Amsterdam Palace for $2.9 million.

After receiving city approval to demolish the Revere Hotel next-door, a two-story, 6,100-foot addition was built transforming the entire structure into a palatial home which Versace named Casa Casuarina.

Gianni Versace's initial connection with Miami, South Beach in particular, came when he designed the sensual T-shirt-and-pastel-jacket look for Miami Vice, a look that exuded a fresh style that would soon sweep the country and set the tone for a decade of wild and reckless living.

Versace was murdered on July 15, 1997, outside his Miami Beach mansion; Andrew Cunanan, an alleged former lover, became a prime suspect. Cunanan, who was suspected of murdering four others in a killing spree, fled from the police. Ten days later he committed suicide in a houseboat on Miami Beach that was under siege by armed police. Enrico Forti, who planned to make a documentary about Cunanan and advance a number of conspiracy theories about the Versace slaying, has been indicted on a charge of killing an Australian businessman.

After the death of Gianni Versace, his sister, Donatella Versace, took over his business the family’s trademark of using bright colors and designs. His lover Antonio D'Amico started his own design company.

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Last updated: 05-15-2005 05:58:33