Gianni Versace Biography
Years of designing for the theater earned him a respectable reputation in the fashion industry, but it was his collaborations with American photographer Richard Avedon that helped Gianni Versace become one of the world's elite designers. His 1982 collection introduced metallic garments that would become his trademark, and his elaborate stage costumes for Elton John in the late '80s helped cement his reputation as one of the beautiful people. At the time of his murder in 1997, Versace had an extensive empire that included boutiques, fragrances and household products. He was shot to death outside his Miami Beach home, the last victim in the killing spree of fugitive Andrew Cunanan. Versace's sister Donatella succeeded him as head of the fashion house.