WH E N H E W A S K I L L E D in July 1997, Gianni Versace was hailed world-wide as the master of glitz and glamour. News stories and obituaries referred to the brashness and ostentation of his fashion, to his love of celebrities and his taste for publicity. According to the Daily Telegraph, he established a huge fashion empire ‘by following Oscar Wilde’s dictum that nothing succeeds like excess’. For The Times, he was ‘the king of glitz’, the man who ‘combined beauty with vulgarity’, while The Independent on Sunday suggested that, unlike the understated style of his rival Armani, Versace’s style catered to those Italians who preferred ‘Middle Eastern flashy’. The word that recurred most frequently in the press was glamour. The designer’s penchant for opulent beauty, the dramatic eye-catching nature of his gowns, the mingling in his work of street style and high fashion, the heavily sexual element, his invention of the supermodels of the 1990s, his flamboyant lifestyle and professional and personal relationships with the famous all contributed to the definition of him as the leading practitioner of glamour. In 1995, to convey the sort of women the designer might have dressed, the Financial Times wrote that ‘Cleopatra, Jezebel, Delilah, Mme de Pompadour, Jean Harlow, Jane Russell, Lana Turner, Gina Lollobrigida, Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Claudia Cardinale, Cher were all Versace girls, glitter queens to a woman’.1