After Versace

Can a fashion empire survive the slaying of its creative soul?

Long past midnight Gianni Versace blew a kiss to a French starlet. "Ciao carissima, ciao bella," the 50-year-old designer said as he worked the pulsating crowd in Milan's cavernous Cafe L'Atlantique discotheque. Versace had rented the high-tech nightspot for scores of models, friends, fashion buyers, and jet-setters to celebrate his Spring 1998 ready-to-wear collection. British pop star Boy George, one of Gianni's countless rock-and-roll friends, had even been flown down first-class from London to be disc jockey for the evening, a job he did with abandon until dawn.

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