Book Review – House of Versace: The Untold Story of Genius, Murder, and Survival

If you crossed a V.C. Andrews novel with fashion nonfiction, you would end up with House of Versace, the deliciously trashy story of the ups and extreme downs of the Versace legacy. Gianni Versace, founder of the opulent design house, lived a life of glamour and lavishness until he was murdered on the steps of his home by a crazed fan. It is with this moment that author Deborah Ball (a former Wall Street Journal reporter) begins her narrative. The novel reads like the kind of gossip magazine you pore over in a grocery checkout line: no salacious detail is overlooked, and no family secret left in the dark.

Chapters are in-depth and meticulously researched. While, of course, we delve deep into the early childhood of Gianni, older brother Santo and diva-in-her-own-right Donatella, pages upon pages are also dedicated to detailing the background of the celebrities that get introduced. Armani, Campbell, Donatella’s husband, Paul Beck, Gianni’s lover, Antonio D’Amico, and eventually Gianni’s murderer, Andrew Cunanan, are each given a proper biography before being woven into our tragic hero’s timeline.
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Don’a-tell-a Donatella: How I Defied the Versace Brand by Wearing their Clothes while also Being a Regular Person

Versace was always a little too much for me—too bright, too tight, too sex-bomb. But when a girl I know pulled this dress out of her filing cabinet (a fashion magic trick) and offered it to me, how could I refuse?

Let me introduce you to the newest Awesome Thing in my Closet: quintessential ’90s Versace in the form of a printed zip-front minidress. It’s made of weirdly thick fabric, and is quite warm, which I did not expect. It also rides up—but just enough to scandalize, never to humiliate. (From what I have seen of this brand, this may be part of the design.) The yellow-gold bauble that hangs off the zipper could, if I turned my head fast enough, give me a concussion.

It also looks awesome with combat boots and makes an excellent outfit for my part-time video store job.

Which is just as Gianni intended, I’m sure.

text by g.
photography by Jessica Da Silva