Gianni Versace (December 2, 1946 -July 15, 1997) was a famous and almost aristocratic Italian fashion designer, as well as the founder and owner of the high-end Versace clothing company.
Versace was born to a family who owned a tailoring store in the town of Reggio di Calabria, in southern Italy. 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 an internationally famous fashion designer alongside Ralph Lauren, Oscar De La Renta, Carlota Alfaro and Giorgio Armani. He was a personal designer for celebrities such as Courtney Love, Jon Bon Jovi and Elton John, and 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 adjacent Revere Hotel, a two-story, 6,100-foot addition was built, transforming the entire structure into a palatial home that 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 the TV series 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 shot dead on the front steps of his Miami Beach mansion on July 15, 1997. Andrew Cunanan, who was wanted for murdering four other people in a killing spree, became a prime suspect; four of the victims, including Versace, were gay. Cunanan fled and hid from police. Eight days later, he committed suicide in a houseboat on Miami Beach that was under siege by armed police.
After Versace's death, his sister, Donatella Versace, took over his business and continued usage of the family's trademark bright colors and designs. His lover, Antonio D'Amico, started his own design company.
Designer Definition (from U.S Department of Labor)