Despite The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story’s showrunner Ryan Murphy claiming Donatella Versace sent Penelope Cruz flowers this week, the Versace house recently labelled the series “reprehensible” and “a work of fiction”.
“As we have said, the Versace family has neither authorized nor had any involvement whatsoever in the forthcoming TV series about the death of Mr. Gianni Versace, which should only be considered as a work of fiction,” the family said in a statement. “The company producing the series claims it is relying on a book by Maureen Orth, but the Orth book itself is full of gossip and speculation. Orth never received any information from the Versace family and she has no basis to make claims about the intimate personal life of Gianni Versace or other family members. Instead, in her effort to create a sensational story, she presents second-hand hearsay that is full of contradictions.”
With little to no support from the label, costume designer Lou Eyrich was in for a big challenge. According to Vanity Fair, the stylist had just five weeks and a limited budget to source vintage 90s Versace pieces to tell the story of Gianni Versace’s final days before his murder.
“There were days when there were one, two, three, four, five of us from the costume department just sitting at computers on eBay and Etsy and First Dibs, calling high-end vintage stores across the states, just trying to locate whatever Versace we could get our hands on,” says Eyrich. “We were collecting at breakneck speed.”
For the dresses that Eyrich and her team couldn’t source, she had to recreate them but had to do so in a way that wasn’t a direct copy of the original to ensure their production was legal. Case in point: Donatella Versace’s 1996 Met Ball Gown.
“We tried to re-create the Met Ball dress as closely as we could,” says Eyrich. “All of the hardware is cast in gold. The hardest part was finding the leather that would drape similarly. And then we had to find the actual Versace boots and belt that she wore with the dress, which we were able to find in Miami.”
“We tried to follow their silhouette, so that our costumes would come off looking similar, but not exact,” she continued. “So we changed little details… We also wanted to make sure that we wouldn’t offend Versace in any way…We didn’t want to make the designs look cheap, or made for TV.”
Eyrich also noted Cruz was very involved in the production of the costumes as the actress has a close relationship with Donatella and wanted to represent her as truthfully as possible.
The Versace house have said they will make no further comment on the series but it doesn’t sound like they are fans.