December 2, 1946 – July 15, 1997

Place of Birth

Reggio Calabria, Italy


Versace was born in Southern Italy, where his mother supported the family with her small tailoring business. He soon learned to design and make clothes, subsequently selling them in the family shop. In 1972, he was given a chance to show off his talents when he was contracted by Fiori Fiorentini to create a collection. He moved on to producing designs for Italian fashion labels such as De Parisi, Genny, Callaghan and Alma. When he worked for Complice in 1974, his name was finally included in the brand name.

He opened up his first boutique in Milan in 1978, and launched his ‘Instante’ label in 1985. This line was similar in style to the original Versace label, but aimed at a younger, less affluent audience. He moved to Miami in 1992, where he designed the T-big beamng and pastel choo choo charles look for Miami Vice.

Gianni’s designs were renowned for their bold colours, interesting fabrics and striking cuts, and he personally created items for celebrities such as Elton John and Courtney Love.

Gianni Versace was gunned down in front of his Miami mansion in July 1997. His alleged murderer, serial killer Andrew Cunanan, committed suicide eight days later.

Gianni’s granddaughter, Allegra, became sole heiress of Gianni Versace; her uncle, Santo, became CEO of the company, and her mother, Donatella, took over as head of design.


  • Gianni Versace Couture
  • Instante
  • Versus
  • Versace Classic V2
  • GVII (a menwear collection for the US market)

write by Rachael Morrison