Gianni Versace: books and films (made in Calabria) celebrate the designer

The key points

  • Gianni Versace, originally from Reggio Calabria, was killed in Miami in 1997
  • He left an indelible mark on Italian fashion as told by Tony Di Corcia in a bio and by his brother Santo
  • The Calabria film commission has financially supported two projects: a film and a documentary

How much do we know of the child genius, of his childhood in the house in via dei Carrettori, between the cathedral and the sea of ​​the Strait, of his three brothers, Santo, Donatella and Tinuccia, lost too soon; of his mother Franca, who made dresses in brocade or silk cady for the most prominent ladies of Reggio Calabria, and of his father Nino, who sold household appliances and recited the Greek classics by heart? Could we have imagined that as an adolescent he had been fascinated by the bagnarote, those women of Bagnara, strong, energetic, statuesque in bearing, with skirts draped in Flanders and baskets on their heads?

Despite the success, the jet set, the fashion shows and boutiques all over the world, the exhibitions in London, Paris, Milan, Berlin, New York, billionaire turnover (900 billion in 1991) and many awards; despite the attachment to the family, the closeness of his companion Antonio D’Amico, Gianni Versace was also a man alone in his sumptuous homes with stuccoes and valuable paintings on the walls, both in Milan, in via della Spiga, and in Villa Fontanelle in Como, or in New York, in Miami. He dies in Florida, on the steps of his residence, Casa Casuarina, under the gunshots of a psychopath.

The books tell the story of the designer and his family

«He died in Miami and died all over the world», as the journalist Tony Di Corcia recalls in his reconstruction of the life of the designer «Gianni Versace. The biography» (Lindau publisher). To tell us more about the man and the artist, then, are two film productions supported by the Calabria Film Commission, of which the Calabrian stylist Anton Giulio Grande has been extraordinary commissioner for seven months. After all, his mentor is Santo, Gianni’s older brother, who, as an accountant, has always taken care of that “extraordinary financial and industrial project” that was Gianni Versace Spa.

This is how he talks about it in his recent book «Brothers, an Italian family» (Rizzoli), a fresco that highlights fundamental, even delicate, characters and events of his life and that of Gianni and Donatella: the role of Nora, for example , the cousin who was like a second mother. But also the riots of Reggio Calabria. Business and inheritance matters. And it is Anton Giulio Grande himself, who this year brought international stars to the Calabrian catwalks of film festivals, to rejoice at this double celebration of Gianni Versace which starts right from Calabria, for both designers the land of origin (Versace from Reggio, Grande di Lamezia): «It is right that Calabria should glorify him first, because it is here, in front of the Strait that Gianni received stimuli, solicitations, inspirations: his mother, the sea, Magna Grecia».

A film and a documentary «made in Calabria»

A tender from the regional Film Commission has assigned a contribution of 500,000 euros to Oberon Production which will make a film, directed by Oscar winner Bille August. Not only that: the photography will be by Vittorio Storaro and the costumes by Gabriella Pescucci. The producer Ida Di Benedetto, who acquired the rights to Di Corcia’s book, carried out a philological work on the life of the stylist, demanding an impeccable screenplay, written by several hands: a first draft by Kate Wood, then the decisive contribution of Angelo Pasquini and Marco Colli. «By the end of the year the set will open in Reggio Calabria and the protagonist will be defined. It will most likely be an English actor», anticipates Di Benedetto.

Gianni Versace: books and films (made in Calabria) celebrate the designer