The House of Gucci film hits theaters this Thursday, with director Ridley Scott taking us on a journey through events inspired by the true story of the Gucci family. As we all know, the rise of the Italian luxury fashion house gave us many timeless fashions but also scandalous drama. Starring Lady Gaga, Jared Leto, Adam Driver, Al Pacino, and Salma Hayek, the upcoming film explores the story of Patrizia Reggiani, also known as “Lady Gucci”, who was an Italian socialite who married Maurizio Gucci, heir to the Gucci house, and ultimately organized a plot to have him murdered. House of Gucci takes you on a spiraling ride through the Gucci family legacy and the true-life scandal that take over the endless headlines.
The life of luxury was something that Patrizia Reggiani always knew. Ever since she was a young girl, her father pampered her with luxe fur coats, sports cars, and other lavish things. Maintaining her lifestyle, Reggiani managed to always attend the hottest parties and elite social gatherings which eventually led her to meeting her soon-to-be husband Maurizio Gucci.
The two met at a party where Reggiani claims, “He fell madly in love with me. I was exciting and different.” The couple wed in 1972 around the age of 24, becoming one of the first Italian celebrity power couples. Constantly splattered across front pages, Gucci and Reggiani were known for their extravagant lifestyles of numerous luxurious properties including a penthouse at Olympic Tower in Manhattan, monochromatic parties, and even casually hanging out with the Kennedys. Not to mention, it was hard to miss them as they drove around in their chauffeured car with a personalized license plate that read “Maurizia”, a couple’s name with combines the two’s original first names.
Reggiani eventually gave birth to two daughters and even worked alongside Gucci as his chief adviser for business at Gucci. Everything was literally perfect for about a decade until Gucci’s father, Rodolfo, died in 1983 where he inherited a 50% stake in Gucci. At this time, Reggiani noticed a change in Gucci as he stopped seeking advice from her altogether and focused on trying to recover the brand’s prestigious status which weakened due to over-licensing of its “GG” logo.
Gucci bought his cousins and uncle out of half of the business with the help of Bahrain-based investment company Investcorp. Continuing on with more poor business decisions, Gucci was diminishing as a company under Maurizio’s reign, leading him to inevitably selling the company to Investcorp in 1993.
In between the chaos on the business side, the couple’s marriage was also suffering as Gucci became involved with Paolo Franchi. He left Reggiani overnight one day after becoming somewhat fed up with her constant input despite running the business into the ground at the same time. While many believe that Reggiani was jealous of Franchi, she quoted Maurizio’s business decisions with the brand as one of the things she was most angry about with him.
Now living with Franchi, Maurizio received death threats and verbal abuse from Reggiani through cassette tapes and phone calls. Franchi, worried that Reggiani would act on her words, even begged Maurizio to get a bodyguard to which he declined.
On the morning of March 27, 1995, Maurizio Gucci was murdered on his red velvet carpet by a gunman who also injured the doorman Giuseppe Onorato. Reggiani immediately became a suspect, however there was not enough evidence at hand to convict her. She skated by for two years until one of her accomplices bragged about carrying out the murder to the someone who eventually told the police, leading to an investigation and eventually an arrest in 1997 of everyone involved including Patrizia Reggiani.
With one of the biggest stories and an even-juicier trial in the late 1990s, Patrizia Reggiani was sentenced to 29 years along with shooter Benedetto Ceraulo, driver Orazio Cicala, and friend Giuseppina Auriemma in 1998. It is revealed during the trial that Reggiani ordered the killing to be done quickly before Maurizio and Franchi got married. Reggiani was to receive a settlement in the divorce and, per Giuseppina Auriemma, couldn’t allow another woman to replace her nor take everything she’s earned including money and status.
Following her sentencing, she was offered parole in 2011 if she found a job of which she turned down. After living a life of luxury, the thought of working was not in her future plans. In fact, she told her lawyer: “I’ve never worked in my life and I don’t intend to start now.” However, she changed her mind in 2014 when she was released and secured a position at Bozart, a jewelry store in Milan.
In 2014 following her release, she even expressed how she wanted to still work for Gucci despite everything that happened. In an interview with La Reppublica, she shared, “They need me. I still feel like a Gucci – in fact, the most Gucci of them all.”
The 1990s shockingly true story of Gucci is one that is filled with betrayal, luxurious self-indulgence, and ultimately murder. More importantly, it shows how far some people will go to protect legacy and status by any means. House of Gucci explores all of these facets of the highly-publicized Gucci story in addition to taking us through over 20 years of styles and craftmanship supplied by the Gucci fashion house including the iconic GG monogram and original canvas.
You can watch the story unravel on the big screen on Thanksgiving!