With the infamous assassination of Gianni Versace re-entering the news, we take a look at the facts in the case, and explore the key information linked to the murder. The second season of the popular drama American Crime Story is focusing on the murder, which has led to renewed intrigue on the case. In 1997, fashion designer and founder of the world-renowned fashion house Versace – Gianni Versace – was assassinated outside his home. The callous murder shocked many. Here, we look in detail at the case.
Gianni Versace had always been interested in the fashion industry – and in his twenties, he started to build up a reputation in the industry. He eventually opened a boutique in Milan in 1978. This helped catapult Versace into fame – with many since crediting him with revolutionizing several areas of fashion. As the years passed by, Versace’s brand and reputation continued to grow – leading him to becoming employed by world-famous names such as Princess Diana, Madonna, Cher and Sting among others.
Then, at the height of his success, the fateful day happened. On 15 July 1997, Versace opted to go for a morning walk to collect newspapers. Normally, a member of his house staff would go, but he made the fateful decision to go himself on this occasion. Upon returning, Versace was shot outside his house. He was rushed to hospital, before being pronounced dead, passing away aged 50. Investigators soon worked out that Andrew Cunanan – a wanted serial killer – was responsible. A manhunt ensued, eventually ending eight days after the murder when Cunanan commit suicide. No motive was ever discovered.
It was subsequently revealed that Cunanan was ‘obsessed’ by the designer, and told friends that he had a ‘friendship’ with Versace. It is believed that Cunanan fabricated many stories around supposedly meeting celebrities. Some suggest that Cunanan and Versace did meet at least once (some eyewitnesses have confirmed this), though Versace’s family deny this. Cunanan killed five people in a three-month spree, with Versace his final victim. Versace gained a reputation for easily changing his appearance – helping him to evade capture. As mentioned, Cunanan shot himself dead.
Versace produced several fashion accessories, fragrances and of course, clothes. The clothes were known for featuring bright, adventurous and vivid colours and designs. The latest instalment of the American Crime Story anthology shows the legacy that was created by Versace – though unfortunately, a lot of guesswork must go into shows like these. For instance, it hasn’t been completely confirmed that Versace and Cunanan had met prior to the murder – though the show portrays this as certainly happening. Unfortunately, no concrete information has ever been found.
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Versace has certainly left a strong legacy on the world – mainly of course his famous fashion brand. The brand lives on to this day – mainly being managed by family members, including his niece Allegra Versace – who inherited 50% of the company upon turning 18 – at the request of Gianni. His funeral was attended by over 2,000 people – showing how popular he was. He had a profound impact on the world – and over 20 years after his death – he continues to attract interest. He is buried at a family vault in Lake Como.