The bankruptcy sale of what was once America’s most expensive home marks the end of an era for the house where the Versace legend was born.
Gianni Versace’s Miami Beach mansion is one of America’s landmark homes. This spectacular 1930s-era Mediterranean-style estate was originally built by Standard Oil heir Alden Freeman and was modeled after the Alcazar de Colon palace built in the Dominican Republic in 1510 by the son of Christopher Columbus. The iconic mansion gained its current fame and notoriety when Gianni Versace purchased the property in 1992.
Many say that the home, with its lavish interior that included paintings of Grecian, nymph-like characters playing lyres under palm trees, an iconic snake-haired Medusa head, and even the Versace logo, helped to create the flamboyant style that made the Versace name one of the world’s most familiar brands.
When the Versace family owned the mansion, Gianni’s extravagant parties and over-the-top renovations helped usher in a renaissance of Miami’s South Beach that still continues today. Gianni Versace’s presence in South Beach was a magnet that attracted models, jet-setters and celebrities including Sylvester Stallone and Madonna, who also bought homes near the mansion in Miami.
An Untimely Demise
The party ended in 1997 when Gianni was gunned down at the mansion’s entrance gate by serial killer Andrew Cunanan. The house sat vacant for three years after Giani’s murder, while the Versace family temporarily moved to a secluded private resort in the Caribbean and canceled the Versace Spring-Summer 1999 Collection. While the house on South Beach sat vacant, the House of Versace went through a massive reorganization and Gianni’s sister Donatella emerged as heir to the throne.
The Continuation of a Dynasty
It didn’t take Donatella long to realize that wristwatches had the potential to be much more than time keeping instruments. With the knowledge that watches could become essential fashion accessories, she created the Versus and Versace watch collections. These timepieces have become so popular with fashion-forward men and women that many new collections sell out almost immediately.
One of the most characteristic features of any Versus or Versace watch are the iconic images that still adorn the walls of the Versace Mansion. Whenever you see the famous Versace Medusa or the Versace Greek Key motif on a Versace watch, remember that it was Gianni Versace’s famous home that started the legend you are wearing on your wrist. This famous house may have seen better days, but under Donatella Versace’s leadership, the Versace brand itself has never been stronger.
As the birthplace of Versace style, the famous house on South Beach will always have an important place in Versace history.
Gevril Group US and Caribbean Agent for Versace Watches
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