Who’s who in ‘House of Gucci,’ the new crime and fashion saga 

House of Gucci 1
Adam Driver and Lady Gaga as Maurizio and Patrizia in ‘House of Gucci.’
Photo courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.

By Luz Lancheros, MWN

‘House of Gucci’ is Ridley Scott’s film that tells the story of the heartbreak and murder of Mauricio Gucci, heir to one of the most important fashion houses in the industry. It stars Lady Gaga and Adam Driver. Here are some key takeaways from the feature film.

An ostentatious love story

Maurizio Gucci married Patrizia Reggiani in 1972, after seeing her at a party in the late 1960s. She did not come from a wealthy family, as he did, but she gradually inserted herself into his social class thanks to money, beauty and style. The two married despite the opposition of the Gucci family. They were both 24 years old and after Alessandra was born, Rodolfo bought them an 840 m2 penthouse in the Olympic Tower in New York. They had houses in Acapulco, Connecticut and several private islands. Patrizia spent more than $10k on orchids alone and the couple was famous for their one-color theme parties. Patrizia became known as “Lady Gucci” and also began to work for the brand.

The break

According to Patrizia, when Rodolfo Gucci died in 1983, Maurizio, who started working for the brand when he was 15 and inherited 50 percent of the company, began to act irresponsibly and stopped listening to her. Two years later, he told her he was going on a business trip to Florence and never returned. The reason? He started a relationship with another younger woman and it was from her family doctor that she learned he would not be coming back. But she wasn’t willing to lose her status.

Gucci’s problems

One of Patrizia’s big reasons for killing her ex-husband was the way he managed the brand: Maurizio planned to return it to its artisanal luxury status that was lost by licensing it in mass products. He also conspired against his uncle Aldo and his cousins to take another half of the shares. He succeeded with the Arab finance company Investcorp, but he was not a good manager and in 1993 he sold the entire company to the Arab finance company. Although he hired Tom Ford, who restored the brand’s prestige and revenues, he did not live to see the fruits of that decision. 

Patrizia was angry because the brand no longer belonged to the family and because in 1992 she had a brain tumor and Maurizio did not support her. The year before they had a legal battle in which she kept her daughters and started to receive a million euros per year. But what hurt her was the sale of a brand that she helped to build.

The crime

Maurizio was murdered on March 27, 1995, with three shots in the back. His mistress, Paola Franchi, was evicted that same day by Patrizia, who also made the decision for the murder because she wanted to remarry. Through the psychic Pina Auriemma, she contacted Benedetto Ceraulo, Orazio Cicala and Ivano Savioni as the executioners. Maurizio had many enemies, including members of his family, and everything became clear when one of the executioners boasted about the crime to the wrong person. In 1997 the police arrested Patrizia, who simply stated that she was being held for the murder of her husband and refused to leave without her jewelry and fur coat. 

The Gucci family did not mourn much for the heir. And Patrizia was sentenced in 1998. She spent 18 years in San Victor prison (out of a 26-year sentence), where she was able to keep a pet, a ferret, and take care of her plants. She turned down her first parole offer in 2011 because it required her to have a job and only said, “I never worked in my life and I have no intention of starting now.” By 2014, she worked at the jewelry firm Bozart and oversaw the design of a line of handbags. She regained freedom in 2016 despite an appeal from her daughters, who are not speaking to Patrizia, but they must now pay her 1 million euros a year, plus another 18 million euros for each year she was in prison. Patrizia now lives with her pets and is a manager of her estate.

The movie
It is based on the book “The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed” by Sara Grey Forden. Although the brand has avoided talking about the scandal for years, it has collaborated in the costume part of the feature film. It will be available on Nov. 24 this year. In this regard, Patrizia Reggiani only stated that she would have liked Lady Gaga to meet her to work on the character.