BY SARA DARLING
HEAD TO SANTA MONICA FOR A SLICE OF FASHION HISTORY
Versace was shot and killed on 15 July 1997, at the age of 50, on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion as he returned from a morning walk on Ocean Drive. But his legacy is not forgotten.
Lauded as one of the groundbreaking designers of the 80s and 90s, he lived a full life, embracing gossip and speculation, but he was also a regular at Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica, where he could escape and relax.
Still owned by the same family, who remain coy as to the habits of the designer, Hotel Shangri-La, is used as the backdrop for the recent TV Series American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace.
Versace was recognised, but was always low key, and always stayed in the penthouse suite of this original art deco hotel; With Tamie Adaya, Hotel Shangri-La’s CEO and Creative Director noting “back then parties were a strictly no no. We are a boutique, family owned hotel. But not for Gianni Versace. He was a genius. He was an icon, but to us he was just Gianni and part of the Shangri-La family.”
With major stars taking on roles in the series- it is Edgar Ramirez (The Girl on the Train) who lands the covetable role of Gianni, alongside Penelope Cruz as Donatella, who relive his flamboyant lifestyle. Openly gay, Versace embraced the fast life and was friends with Madonna, Elton John, Cher, Sting and Eric Clapton, who although do no appear in the re-make, are a big part of his memoirs.
With such a fashionable history, the hotel also retains a laid-back atmosphere, with Tamie fondly reflecting “Versace loved architecture, particularly Art Deco, which inspires me to this very day with the hotel’s interior design. It was a privilege being a part of this series which celebrates his flamboyant life and legacy.”
Overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Santa Monica Pier, you can see why it was and still is, so popular. Chances of you rubbing shoulders with real life celebrities and designers is pretty high too!