The forthcoming FX series The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, which premieres in January, promises to bring renewed attention to the life and tragic death of Gianni Versace, who was murdered by serial killer Andrew Cunanan in 1997.
Versace spent years building a name for his eponymous company, and even today, two decades after his death, his brand remains one of the most recognized labels in the fashion world. Now led by his sister Donatella, 62, the brand and company are currently valued at $1.7 billion, according to Reuters. When the Italian fashion designer died, he was a 50 percent stakeholder in the company. If he were still alive to see his namesake label flourish today, this would put his personal net worth at somewhere around $800 million.
Born Giovanni Maria Versace, the renowned fashion visionary was only 50 years old when he was shot to death on the front steps of his Miami Beach mansion. Versace came from humble beginnings, working as an apprentice at his mother Francesca's sewing business, according to the book House of Versace. When he was 26, Versace moved to Milan to work in fashion design and ended up creating the "Byblos" and "Complice" lines for Genny, an Italian ready-to-wear brand. In 1978, following his first fashion show, Versace opened his first boutique in Milan's Via della Spiga.
For several years following his assassination in 1997, Versace's company struggled financially. In 2011, the company managed to return a profit and The Blackstone Group, a private equity firm, bought a 20 percent stake in Versace in 2014. Today, Gianni Versace's niece Allegra, 31, remains the largest shareholder of the company after she inherited 50 percent of her uncle's empire on her 18th birthday. Other notable shareholders include Versace's brother, Santo, 73, and his sister, Donatella.
"I didn't want nothing to do with fashion anymore because of the pain of losing my brother, and I thought fashion would not exist without my brother," Donatella told Time in 2008. The period following her brother's death was difficult, and Donatella wanted to quit the fashion industry altogether. "... I continue to fight for the Versace brand to be alive, to survive, and to be better and better, so that made me find the strength to go on," she added.
Édgar Ramírez will play Versace in the upcoming Season 2 0f American Crime Story, which will delve into the investigation before and after Gianni Versace's murder by Andrew Cunanan. Ricky Martin will play Versace's lifelong partner Antonio D'Amico; Darren Criss will play serial killer Andrew Cunanan; and Penélope Cruz will play Donatella Versace. Officially titled The Assassination of Gianni Versace, the show is set to premiere on FX on January 17, 2018.
*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors