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Sunday, May 19, 2024

American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace


Life, death, inspiration to live life out of a baroque closet

The second season of the renowned FX mini-series, American Crime Story, premiered on Jan. 17 and centered around the death the one of the most iconic and openly gay fashion designers — Gianni Versace. “American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace” tells the story of Versace’s death that happened 20 years ago, but needed to be retold through a different lens in a different time.

Andrew Cunanan, played by Darren Criss, is the serial killer that shot Gianni Versace in front of his home in Miami, Florida. The show carefully uses flashbacks to and from the present to reveal pivotal moments in Cunanan’s life that inched him closer to killing Versace.

Gianni Versace, played by Edgar Ramirez, channeled the love of life and passion that followed Versace wherever he went. This outlook on life is reflected in the clothes that he produced — bright colors, baroque patterns and sensual design that aimed to encourage women to feel empowered.

In an interview with Vogue, Donatella Versace (or Medusa herself) opened up about her brother’s story and reminded herself of the tragedy of his death. According to her, twenty years have passed and it was finally time to share his story. Versace’s death still holds considerable relevance given the current political climate surrounding LGBT rights and equality.

Versace was a strong supporter of women, but he also became a role model for the gay community when he publicly came out in an interview with The Advocate, an LGBT magazine in 1995.

The show uses Versace’s story as a way to address several LGBT related issues that existed then and, unfortunately, still do today. Donatella Versace, played by Penelope Cruz, voices her concern to Versace when he was deciding to come out. She was afraid he would no longer have clientele to sell to.

Cunanan is shown having signs of HIV/AIDS which was not an acceptable disease for most people at the time. Ronnie, played by Max Greenfield, suggests that the FBI did not care to track down Cunanan before a public figure like Versace was killed because of his condition.

The legacy of Versace can be seen in a tribute collection recently released that was inspired by his 1992 spring show seen in the show.

This season consists of nine episodes that are available for streaming on FX Now.



Written by: Josh Madrid — arts@theaggie.org


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