Gianni Versace ran a veritable fashion empire for 20 years until he was tragically murdered at his home in Miami in the late '90s. Born in Italy to a mother who owned a tailoring shop, the designer later based himself in Milan and debuted his own collection in 1978. From the start, the Versace brand was characterized by glamorous, glitzy styles that would be equally at home on the red carpet at a movie premiere or a yacht in St. Tropez. The Versace aesthetic was marked by bold colors, daring cuts and sex appeal above all else. Versace was also innovative with his materials, and liked to experiment with new techniques, such as the use of lasers to fuse rubber and leather.
Versace's designs won him popularity with many celebrities; he dressed Madonna, Elton John and Princess Diana. A luminary in his own right and a fixture on the international party circuit, Versace embodied the life that his collections projected. Since his death, Versace's sister Donatella has assumed the helm of the design house and continues his legacy of colorful and outrageous clothes.