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Drama, deception and design come together in Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci. The 2021 American biographical crime drama is wowing viewers with its OTT release, offering insight into the world of Gucci and the tremors that ambitious Patrizia Reggiani makes after marrying law student Maurizio Gucci. Lady Gaga steps into the shoes of Patrizia Reggiani, walking the paths of love and luxury, missing the plot and the ambitious story leading to one member of the Gucci family ending up in prison and another shot dead.

The film, however, evoked a strong statement from Aldo Gucci’s heirs, who accused the creators of “misrepresentation”. “The film’s production did not bother to consult the heirs before portraying Aldo Gucci – chairman of the company for 30 years – and the members of the Gucci family as thugs, ignorant and insensitive to the world around them” , we read in the press release.

While this one is an intriguing story, which made a gripping outing on screen while receiving nominations for the BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award and Academy Awards, there have been other compelling stories of “fashion which enjoyed similar popularity. Famous designers and the empires they build, with the power to impact the world, are some of the most intriguing tales. While France remains the fashion headquarters, stories from Paris, Milan and beyond have traveled the world. Here’s a quick check.

A stroke of glory

Gucci wasn’t the only fashion czar to meet a bloody end. Known for his daring fashion and luxurious lifestyle, Gianni Versace was gunned down on the steps of his Miami villa; the story was adapted for the screen in 2018 as The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. Venezuelan actor Edgar Ramírez played the lead role. It explores the incidents leading to the murder of the 50-year-old Italian fashion designer and what follows.

The real hero/anti-hero here seems to be Andrew Cunanan (played by Darren Criss) – the notorious gay serial killer. This murder mystery received the most nominations with nine at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, and it won three. Versace’s sexuality and murder also made their way to rapper Eminem’s criminal.

2014 was the year of YSL

2014 saw not one, but two releases for celebrated French designer Yves Saint Laurent. French biographical drama Yves Saint Laurent (film) casts Pierre Niney as Laurent, following his career and partnership with Pierre Bergé (Guillaume Gallienne). The Jalil Lespert-directed film has been criticized for being a superficial narrative.

Saint Laurent

However, Bertrand Bonello directed Saint Laurent, again a biographical drama, centering on Yves in his heyday, mid-1960s to mid-1970s. Making the festival circuits, the film debuted at Cannes with Gaspard Ulliel playing Yves and Jérémie Renier Pierre telling the story of the luxury fashion house to viewers.

Emblematic figures

Coco Before Chanel is a 2009 biographical drama directed by Anne Fontaine that traces Gabrielle Chanel’s rather tragic childhood and her journey to becoming a designer. Coco’s designs changed the fashion world creating an empire. The film earned several nominations, including the BAFTA Awards, three European Film Awards, six César Awards and the Oscar for Best Costume Design, but did not win.

In 2009, a film based on her life titled Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky was released. This is a fictional version of the rumored affair between Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky in 1920, the year the iconic Chanel No. 5 was created. The film, which debuted in Cannes, explores the meeting of two iconic figures from the worlds of fashion and music.

In the wings

If exploring the life and times of fashion giants is one, what happens behind the scenes of luxury brands is what Inside Dior, a two-part documentary, is about. On the 70th anniversary of French luxury fashion house Christian Dior, filmmaker Michael Waldman went behind the scenes to take an exclusive look at the brand.

To be known

Valentino: The Last Emperor (2008) provided access to the life and inner circle of legendary Italian fashion designer Valentino Garavani. Matt Tyrnauer’s documentary was about the journey of a man in love with fine clothes. Another documentary, Lagerfeld Confidential (2007), is an intimate and personal portrait of the German creative director of Chanel and Fendi.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story