Iconic designer Gianni Versace was born on December 2, 1946 in the industrial town of Reggio di Calabria, in southern Italy. At the age of 18, he went to work as a buyer in his mother Francesca's clothing store. At age 22, Versace began designing clothes. A local garment maker hired him to design a collection that was sold in Francesca Versace's store. As a result, he became known in Milan, the center of Italian fashion, and he soon landed a job as a designer with clothing manufacturer Florentine Flowers. In 1974, he created and developed his own line - Complice. The success of that line would lead Versace to create future lines of cutting edge apparel, perfume, cologne and accessories.
His fragrance empire began in 1992, when he released his first signature scent, Gianni Versace. Subsequent fragrances under the Versace name include 1990's Versus for Men cologne, Blonde - which was launched in 1995, The Dreamer (the final fragrance to launch during Gianni's lifetime), 2003's Versace Man, Glam and Crystal Noir - which was a perfume industry blockbuster - in 2004. Versace Man Eau Fraiche and Bright Crystal perfumes were launched in 2005. In 2007, the company launched its latest fragrance creation, Versace by Versace. He merged the worlds of fashion and entertainment. His lavish shows were pop-culture events, and he drew inspiration from contemporary street life, and films as well as art and design history. Though he had been battling ear cancer, it was a serial killer Andrew Cunanan who took Gianni's life on July 15, 1997. Cunanan shot Versace in broad daylight, in front of his home in Miami Beach, Florida. Four days earlier, Gianni had signed a deal to take his company public, as owner of 45% of The Gianni Versace company. His shares were left to his then 11-year old niece, Allegra. Today, Versace Group is owned entirely by the Versace family (50% Allegra Beck Versace, 20% Donatella Versace and 30% Santo Versace).
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