Ryan Murphy’s latest series, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” premieres in just less than a week.
The highly anticipated series stars Penélope Cruz, Ricky Martin, Darren Criss and Édgar Ramírez as Gianni Versace.
Today the Versace family made news condemning the series and the book it was based on. They released a statement to several outlets calling the project “sad and reprehensible.”
Before you dive into the series, here are five fascinating things you should know about the late fashion genius.
(FYI if you’re not already familiar with the tragic story, some spoilers ahead.)
Fashion Runs in the Family
Gianni Versace’s mother Francesa was a dressmaker. The future fashion mogul started to apprentice with her, joining about a dozen seamstresses when he was very young.
Versace was murdered on the front steps of his Miami mansion in 1997. The mansion was turned into a luxury hotel and features 10 hotel suites, a restaurant and bar and a Versace-esque pool complete with a tiled Medusa patio (like the brand’s logo).
Why the 50-year-old was murdered is still a mystery. Versace was the 5th and final victim of young serial killer Andrew Cunanan who later shot himself with the same weapon used to gun down the designer. Authorities still don’t have an answer as to what motivated Cunanan.
Sexual Assault Allegations
Last year actor Kevin Sorbo posthumously accused the designer of sexual misconduct. Sorbo, best known for his role as TV’s Hercules, claimed the harassment occurred in the 1990s. His allegations could not be corroborated.
The funeral was held in Milan and was a virtual celebrity who’s who. Princess Diana, who frequently wore the label, was in attendance. Elton John and Sting performed “The Lord Is My Shepherd” during the service. Fellow designers Giorgio Armani, Carla Fendi, Karl Lagerfeld and Valentino sat behind Versace’s family in the cathedral.
Versace left 50% of his estate to his beloved niece, Allegra, the daughter of Donatella Versace. Allegra is currently director of Gianni Versace S.p.A. His longtime romantic partner Antonio D’Amico was also left a portion of the estate, but after interference from Versace’s family, he got much less.
Princess Diana and Gianni Versace were both referenced in the film “Spice World” but those references were subsequently removed from the movie before it was released because both of them had passed away.
“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” airs January 17 on FX.