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.
In the mid-1970s, his knits drew the attention of headhunter 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.
Since his death sister Donatella has been designing for the House of Versace.
When I heard of the death of Gianni I actually broke down and cried, something I do not generally do, I immediately went out and bought flowers and laid them at the Versace boutique in Beverly Hills.