The House of Gucci
A True Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed
NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE from director Ridley Scott, starring Lady Gaga and Adam Driver
The sensational true story of murder, madness, glamour, and greed that shook the Gucci dynasty, now fully updated with a new afterword
On the morning of March 27, 1995, four quick shots cracked through Milan’s elegant streets. Maurizio Gucci, heir to the fabulous fashion dynasty, had been ambushed, slain on the steps to his office by an unknown gunman. Two years later, Milan’s chief of police entered the sumptuous palazzo of Maurizio’s ex-wife, Patrizia Reggiani—nicknamed “the Black Widow” by the press—and arrested her for the murder.
Did Patrizia kill her ex-husband because his spending was wildly out of control? Did she do it because he was preparing to marry his mistress? Or is it possible Patrizia didn’t do it at all?
The Gucci story is one of glitz, glamour, and intrigue—a chronicle of the rise, near fall, and subsequent resurgence of a fashion dynasty. Beautifully written, impeccably researched, and widely acclaimed, The House of Gucci is a page-turning account of high fashion, high finance, and heartrending personal tragedy.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Sara Gay Forden’s juicy biography—the inspiration behind the controversial Ridley Scott movie—shines a spotlight on the dramatic, volatile, and enchanting Gucci family. The book chronicles the fashion house’s history, from the opening of their first store in Florence to Maurizio Gucci’s shocking assassination in broad daylight, a hit organized by his disgruntled wife, Patrizia Reggiani (played with gusto in the movie by Lady Gaga). Forden paints an opulent portrait of a competitive family slowly torn apart by jealousy, and every snapshot is gasp-worthy, from Maurizio forging the signature of his dying father to scandals involving the elite world of high fashion, mistresses, tax fraud, prison sentences, vicious lawsuits, and, of course, murder. The House of Gucci is a deliciously thorough account of one of the 20th century’s most glamorous and diabolical dynasties.
The brutal 1995 murder of Maurizio Gucci, the grandson of the Gucci company founder, serves as entree into the history of one of the world's most glamorous fashion houses. The author, a longtime fashion writer for Women's Wear Daily, wonderfully describes how Guccio Gucci learned, as a low-level employee at London's Savoy hotel in the 1890s, that luggage functions as a symbol of "affluence and taste," and then went on to create opulent leather goods that caught the world's eye. Forden traces how Guccio--and his descendants--used charisma and intuition, rather than trained business acumen, to create the handbag dynasty. The "Gucci concept," a group of colors and designs largely derived from horse stables, didn't hurt either. But much of the book is devoted to the in-fighting that developed among Guccio's sons and grandsons. This in-fighting as well as the Guccis' inability to adapt to increased competition, professionalize their management and maintain the value of their brand name eventually caught up with them. In fact, Maurizio, having risen to the top of the company in the 1980s by using outside investors to depose his uncle, was eventually bought out in 1993, leaving no family members in the company's top management. (Forden does explain how the Gucci company has since made a comeback.) The book is, at times, too detailed about fashion history and techniques, and some may find the author's use of dramatic re-creations annoying. Nevertheless, he offers an intriguing view of one of the families that helped to create 20th-century style and business. Photos not seen by PW.