The Shocking True Story of House of Gucci

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The Shocking True Story of House of Gucci

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Tal Fox
We know about the movie, but what's the true story of "House of Gucci?" For this essay, we'll be looking at the real events that inspired the 2021 movie starring Lady Gaga and Adam Driver. Our video includes Maurizio Gucci, Guccio Gucci, Lady Gaga, and more!
Transcript

The True Story of House of Gucci


Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be looking at the True Story of House of Gucci.

For this essay, we’ll be looking at the real events that inspired the 2021 movie starring Lady Gaga and Adam Driver. Despite the notoriety of the people involved, it wasn’t always easy to find confirmed sources on information about everything and everyone - so please note that we’ve tried to the best of our ability to be as accurate as possible.

Are you planning on watching the film? Let us know in the comments

Whether you consider yourself fashion-savvy or not, you have almost definitely heard of the fashion brand Gucci. It was founded in Florence, Italy in 1921 by Guccio Gucci, but our story begins after it was inherited by his grandson Maurizio Gucci.

With Maurizio in charge, Gucci faced many financial troubles thanks to its new head, who was often accused of continuous and reckless spending. Then in 1993, he was forced to sell his remaining stock in the company for $170 million to Investcorp, who also owned Tiffany. The Gucci family was no longer in control of their brand. But rewinding back to the late ‘60s and early ‘70s: Maurizio went to a party where he met the woman who would soon become his wife.

Patrizia Reggiani, born in Northern Italy in 1948, was the daughter of a waitress. When it comes to her father, there are conflicting reports. It appears she didn’t know her biological father, but she had a stepfather, who was an older gentleman and a trucker. The family started off poor, but he accumulated quite a bit of money over the years. Supposedly, he loved to spoil his daughter with mink coats and sports cars. Thanks to his savings and her Elizabeth Taylor likeness, Patrizia was able to rise in social circles until she was partying with, well, the heir of Gucci. And at least from what she says, it was pretty much love at first sight - at least for Maurizio. The pair quickly became the power couple of their time.

But his father, Rodolfo, disapproved of the relationship, reportedly calling Reggiani, “A social climber who has nothing in mind but money”. And indeed, she had earned herself the nickname “Liz Taylor of Luxury Labels”. The pair wed anyway, and it was only after the birth of his first granddaughter, Alessandra, that Rodolfo was finally able to accept the relationship. A second granddaughter, Allegra, followed a few years later. The duo’s luxurious and decadent lifestyle was widely known. They would spend outlandishly and host lavish parties, hanging out with the Kennedys. It really seemed like all was well in paradise.

After Rodolfo passed away, things started to take a sour turn. He’d left his only son a 50% stake in the company, leading Maurizio to allegedly get a little power-crazy. Now, a majority holder, he fought with his relatives, who also owned stakes in the company and started carelessly mismanaging the finances. It seemed like he’d also had enough of his wife’s “meddling,” who had been previously constantly advising him on ways to rise to the top. Eventually, he had no choice but to sell the company altogether. Reggiani was furious that he’d lost the family business, telling The Guardian in 2016, “He shouldn’t have done that to me.”.

By this time, the couple were already on their way to finalizing their divorce. In 1985 Maurizio told his wife that he was going on a short business trip. However, the following day he got a friend to inform her that he would not be returning. A few years later, he’d move on with Paola Franchi. The divorce and her lust for money turned Reggiani bitter and she would often leave her ex nasty voice messages. When she learned that he was to remarry, she really started to worry. She felt that she had earned that money and no other woman was going to take that from her.

Needless to say, she didn’t keep her feelings about her ex-husband, his new partner, or their money particularly quiet. Then on the morning of March 27, 1995, Maurizio was fatally shot outside his Milan office. Supposedly, it was known that Reggiani had been asking around for someone who would do the deed on her behalf. She also wanted to ensure that it would be done before his upcoming wedding. Before the dust had even settled, she was already making herself at home in his fancy Milan apartment with their two daughters. Her diary entry from that fateful day simply read, “Paradeisos”, Greek for paradise.

The cops had their suspicions. Maurizio had angered plenty of family members and had plans of entering the casino business, but their number one suspect was the ex-wife. Yet there wasn’t enough evidence to make an arrest. But two years later, on January 8, 1997, they got an anonymous tip, leading their investigation to a man called Ivano Savioni. The down-on-his-luck hotel porter, who allegedly negotiated the price for Gucci’s life, was now after someone to ensure that Reggiani paid up in full. Unfortunately for him, an undercover cop applied for the job. On January 31, 1997, the cops pulled up outside Reggiani’s apartment.

She, Savioni, and three others were arrested in connection to the murder. But she continued to plead innocent. She claimed that she’d been set up by her friend and confidante, Pina Auriemma. Meanwhile, her daughters argued that her recently diagnosed brain tumor had changed her personality - a claim she’d repeat after her conviction. But by now, the court had all the evidence it needed. And Reggiani didn’t exactly help her case when she said that paying her friend to help was worth every lira. After a very public trial, she was sentenced to 29 years in prison. Her accomplices also received long sentences for their involvement as well.

Of course, the media had a field day with her trial. The woman they’d once celebrated as “Lady Gucci” was now widely referred to as the “Black Widow”. She seemed unapologetic, unremorseful, and continued to maintain her innocence. She also insisted on coming to her court dates dressed in the Gucci brand. After several years in prison, she was offered early release under the condition that she participate in a program where she would be expected to work. She reportedly refused, saying, “I’ve never worked in my life and I’m certainly not going to start now”. However, it appears that she ultimately joined a work-release program, being hired by jewelry brand Bozart, a few years later. Sources differ on the exact number, but she was said to have served between 16-18 years in prison.

After an initial reduced sentence of 26 years, she was released in 2016, officially gaining her free citizen status the next year. She now lives in Milan. She was awarded $1.2 million from the Gucci estate due to a previous agreement, not to mention back payments of $20 million. She also continues to work as a consultant for Bozart. Her daughters, who always publicly backed her, have since moved to Switzerland and started their own families. Does she plead innocent now? No. Does she plead guilty? Still no.

She’s reportedly unhappy though that Lady Gaga, who will portray her in the movie, hasn't consulted her over the role. And she isn’t the only unhappy party either. Maurizio's second cousin, who’s also called Patrizia, has voiced her unhappiness at someone profiting off of her family’s misery. She’s also expressed insults at some of the casting choices, such as Jared Leto as Paolo Gucci and Al Pacino as her grandfather, Aldo Gucci.

Well, it will be interesting to see what they make of the movie when it’s released on November 24, 2021.
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