American Crime Story is back with another riveting true crime story. This season the popular show is tackling the 1997 murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace by Andrew Cunanan. It is riveting TV made all the more nostalgic by the appearance of Ricky Martin playing Versace's boyfriend Antonio D'Amico. This got us thinking. The Versace brand is alive and well, but how much better could it have been if Gianni had remained alive and at the helm? What would Gianni Versace's net worth be if he were still alive today?
Just days before he was murdered, Gianni had launched a very successful collection in Paris. Versace's clothes were bold and sought after. Remember Liz Hurley's 1994 Oscar dress? It was black and held together with safety pins. It caused quite a stir. That was classic Gianni Versace. At the time of his death, it was reported that Versace was planning to take his fashion house public at a valuation that would have made the already very wealthy man a billionaire.
Gianni left 50% of his fashion house to his favorite niece Allegra. He left 20% of Versace to his sister Donatella and the remaining 30% to his brother Santos.
Since Gianni's death, Versace has struggled to recapture the success it had when the distinctive designs of Gianni defined the label. Donatella took over the design duties after her brother's death. She has a thing for color. Lots and lots of color. Sales dropped. At one point, the venerable fashion label was worth a mere $400 million.
In an effort to bounce back, the family, led by Santo Versace, sold a 20% stake in the company to the private equity firm Blackstone in 2014. The investment valued Versace at $1.4 billion. Today, the Versace brand is theoretically worth $2 to $3 billion.
It is hard to know if the Versace brand would have struggled even if Gianni had not been murdered. Times and tastes change. Would he have evolved as a designer? We'd like to think he would have and that would have resulted in a net worth of $2 billion today if Gianni Versace were still alive.