This was one of the most notorious murders in Italian history — a bloody hit arranged by a spurned spouse, all set to the background of glamour, wealth and high fashion.
Now, a quarter of a century on, the story of Maurizio Gucci’s brutal death is set to become the box office hit of the year.
Directed by Ridley Scott, House Of Gucci features a stellar Hollywood line-up headed by Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani, the plotting, jealous wife who enlisted a hitman to kill her Gucci heir husband.
Adam Driver, Al Pacino and Salma Hayek also feature in a tale that lifts the lid on the feuding fashion dynasty.
Scorned by her Gucci heir husband, she sent a hitman to his door, caused a global sensation and inspired a major new movie starring Lady Gaga. But none of that’s as bizarre as what happened next...
Photos of the cast on set have added to the hype — which this week rose a notch higher with a Lady Gaga interview in Vogue for which she posed naked, sporting a bouffant hairstyle in homage to Patrizia.
Dubbed the Black Widow by the Italian Press, in 1998 Patrizia’s trial captivated and horrified a nation. Now it is set to captivate cinema audiences across the globe.
Here, the Mail looks at the film’s main characters — and reveals the very surprising stories of where they are and what they are up to today . . .
Maurizio Gucci: The Victim
On first setting eyes on his future bride Patrizia Reggiani at a party in Milan, Maurizio Gucci was spellbound. ‘Who is that beautiful girl dressed in red who looks like Elizabeth Taylor?’ he asked. Maurizio’s father Rodolfo, the son of Gucci fashion house founder Guccio Gucci, was less impressed.
Believing her to be a gold-digger, he cut off his son’s funds.
Having married in 1972, the glamorous couple had two daughters, Alessandra and Allegra, with Maurizio spending much of his time working in New York alongside his uncle, Aldo, as they attempted to break into the U.S. market.
In 1983, he inherited his father’s 50 per cent stake in the firm. But under his leadership it struggled.
Maurizio and Patrizia
The acid-tongued Patrizia, from whom he split in 1985, was quick to apportion blame. Criticising his lack of business acumen and reliance on advisers, she said: ‘My husband was like a pillow — he carried the imprint of the last one who sat on it.’
Family shares in the company were sold to Investcorp, a Bahrain-based investment firm, with Maurizio offloading his remaining stake in 1993 for an estimated $170 million (£112 million).
After leaving the business, he kept a relatively low profile, spending time on his yacht and with his new girlfriend, model Paola Franchi.
Then, at 8.30am on March 27, 1995, as Maurizio entered his office in Milan, he was shot three times in the back by a waiting gunman. As he collapsed on to the red marble floor, the coup de grace was delivered with a final bullet to the 46-year-old’s head.
In the movie, Maurizio is played by Stars Wars actor Adam Driver, while Rodolfo is played by Jeremy Irons.
Patrizia Reggiani: The Black Widow
When detectives arrested Patrizia Reggiani on suspicion of the murder, she asked if she might be allowed to change before being taken to the police station. She emerged wearing a floor-length mink coat. In her manicured hands she held a leather Gucci handbag. The Black Widow liked to be the centre of attention.
The daughter of a waitress, Patrizia’s love of the high life came when her mother married into money. Indeed, when she started dating her future husband, she was so unimpressed by his ‘small’ car she demanded he buy her a Ferrari. As she later admitted in an interview: ‘I’d rather weep in a Rolls-Royce than be happy on a bicycle.’
Despite their subsequent divorce, Reggiani continued to refer to Maurizio as ‘my husband’ and was unimpressed by a financial settlement of £900,000 a year, dismissing it as a ‘mere bowl of lentils’.
Lady Gaga playing Patrizia Reggiani in the new movie, House of Gucci
In 1995, fearing that Maurizio would marry his new lover, and so threaten her status and their children’s future inheritance, she hired the services of a hitman.
‘At a human level, I’m sorry,’ she would tell reporters as she attended his funeral. ‘I can’t say the same on a personal level.’
Despite her obvious lack of concern, it would take police two years to piece together what had happened and arrest her. A search of her Cartier diary showed that she had marked the date of Maurizio’s murder with the word ‘Paradise’.
Found guilty of ordering his murder and sentenced to 29 years in jail, Patrizia passed her time in Milan’s San Vittore prison reading, sleeping and exercising a pet ferret called Bambi (it suffered an untimely death when sat on by an inmate).
Freed early, in 2016, she spent several years working at a costume jewellery firm as a design consultant. Now living in Milan, she continues to receive her annual £900,000 payout from her late husband’s estate, after a court ruling in 2017.
Patrizia told a documentary this year: ‘I used to go around and ask everyone, even the butcher, to kill him — “Is there anyone who has the courage to kill my