The Real Estate Legacy of Fashion's Late Gianni Versace

Rob Bear
October 9, 2012


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Photos: MA/D

It has been more than 15 years since fashion designer Gianni Versace was gunned down on the steps of his Miami mansion. The King of Fashion's empire passed to his family after his death, along with a whole host of impressive properties around the world. Since then, the Versace brand has continued (albiet hardly unchanged) under Donatella's creative control and Santo's business accumen, but many of Gianni's homes have been sold. Just two years before his death, Gianni Versace purchased a huge, 35-foot-wide townhouse just off of Fifth Avenue on Manhattan's ritzy Upper East Side for $7.5M and set about renovating it to his high standard. This townhouse, at 5 East 64th Street, was redone by MSM Architects, in conjunction with the Milan-based Laboratorio Associati. The resulting extravagant interiors were complemented by a first-class art collection that included several Picassos and Roy Lichtenstein's "Blue Nude." The contents of the house were later sold at auction—with that Lichtenstein fetching upwards of $5M—and the house itself sold in 2005 for $30M to hedge fund manager Thomas Sandell.


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↑ The scene of Versace's murder, the massive Miami mansion-turned-hotel known as Casa Casuarina, recently found the spotlight again, as it was listed for a whopping $125M, tying for the most expensive listing in America. Versace purchased the building back in 1992 for $10M, when it was a decrepit apartment block, and renovated it into a personal palace worth of a Floridian Medici, adding a 6,100-square-foot wing and "a 54-foot-long mosaic-tiled pool lined with 24-karat gold." In 2000, it was purchased by tech entrepreneur Peter Loftin for $20M, and he converted the place into a boutique hotel. Loftin and his partners are the ones who have the hotel (or potential billionaire mansion) listed for $125M.



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↑ Versace also kept several homes in his native Italy, including this stunning waterfront villa on Lake Como, just north of Milan. Known as the Villa Le Fontanelle, it was purchased by the designer in 1977. He personally supervised the restoration and is said to have individually chosen each item in the interior. For all his obsession about the interior, Versace left the grounds in the capable hands of art historian and landscape architect Sir Roy Strong. Their efforts paid off handsomely at resale in 2008, when the villa fetched some $52M. The buyer was Russian restaurateur Arkady Novikov, who paid $6M over the asking price to have it taken off the market and avoid a bidding war.



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↑ Versace kept an apartment in Milan as well, but it is still owned by the family and frequently used for events (as recent shots by fashion photographer Terry Richardson can attest). Gianni's legacy has afforded his older brother Santo, who was given a 30% stake in the company and currently serves as its President, a similarly extravagant lifestyle. However, with Versace sales stagnating—and the billionaire appetite for massively expensive, pedigreed homes seemingly without bound—Santo has decided to part with his massive Milan mansion. The 22,600-square-foot house was designed by architects Carlo De Carli and Antonio Carminati and completed in 1954. Boasting a 4,800-square-foot garden, a 3,200-square-foot roof deck, and some very "Versace" tile work, it is currently listed for an eye-popping $63.8M.



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↑ Donatella's son, Antonio Versace, has taken up residence in NYC, after buying a full-floor condo at Soho's 44 Mercer. Next door to celeb hotspot 40 Mercer, the discrete building was once envisioned as a towering single-family home, but plans were modified after the recession set in. The third-floor unit purchased by Antonio cost around $2.7M and is where his lucky sister, Gianni's favored niece Allegra, stays when she's in town. Despite the multimillion-dollar price tag, these are rather modest accommodations, considering Allegra was gifted 50% of Versace in the late designer's will.


· Fashion Disaster [The Daily Beast]
· A New Celebrity for a New York 'Power Block'; Versace Picks House On East 64th Street [NYT]
· Versace Residence [MA/D]
· Versace's Miami Villa Tied for Most Expensive Home in U.S. [Curbed National]
· Versace's Lake Como Villa Fontanelle sells for $52 million [Luxury Property]
· On the stairs in Gianni's [Terry Richardson's Diary]
· A one-of-a-kind [Sotheby's Intenational Realty]
· El No [NY Post]

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