A Flair for Fashion
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JIM LEHRER: Finally tonight, the life and death of Versace. Betty Ann Bowser being sour report.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Gianni Versace designed clothes that were glamorous, colorful, sexy. He put his models in the shortest of short dresses, perched them atop four-inch Stiletto high-heeled shoes, and had them glide down runways to the music of Elton John and other rock musicians.
The so-called supermodels wore Versace’s provocative clothes: Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer, and Naomi Campbell, who was devastated by the news of his death.
NAOMI CAMPBELL, Model: (crying) I don’t know if–yes. I always–he always, he always–I never asked–would come back and take my hand and walk me down the runway at the end with him. I just felt like he treated me as a woman with a lot of respect, and that’s why Gianni’s–he became such a good friend.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Versace created one of the biggest international fashion empires in the world. He appealed to a high end clientele, who bought his clothes in boutiques and upscale department stores. The clothes were backless, sideless, the kind of apparel movie stars and international celebrities relished in wearing. Princess Diana and Actress Elizabeth Hurley were among those who wore his dresses.
ALLEN MILLSTEIN, Financial Analyst: It’s believed that the Versace empire represented about $2 billion in annual sales at retail, and he had over 200 stores through partners or relationships that carried his merchandise with his name on it on a worldwide basis. So he was truly one of the superstars, right up there with Armani, Ralph Lauren, or Calvin Klein in annual sales.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: The 50-year-old fashion designer was shot in the back of the head as he was opening the gates to his oceanfront mansion in Miami Beach Tuesday morning. Nearby, police found a stolen red pickup truck and clothes they say belong to the gunman. Miami police say the murderer may be an alleged serial killer named Andrew Cunanan.
CHIEF RICHARD BARRETO, Miami Police: We want him for questioning in the case involving Mr. Versace. In addition to that, of course, he’s wanted for a number of murders across the country. Without revealing the contents of our investigation, I can tell you that we do have a certain amount of evidence that links Mr. Cunanan to this crime.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Police believe Cunanan stole the red truck from a cemetery caretaker named William Reese, after he shot and killed him in New Jersey in May. The FBI thinks five days earlier Cunanan killed a wealthy Chicago real estate investor named Lee Miglin. And they think one day before Miglin’s death Cunanan murdered two of his former lovers–David Madson and Jeffrey Trail–in the Minneapolis area.
The FBI has launched a nationwide manhunt for Cunanan, who was added to the agency’s 10 most wanted list in June. Today, the body of a doctor was found in this house in Miami Springs. A white man in his late 20′s, about five feet ten inches, was seen running from the scene.
The description fits that of Cunanan’s, but police say they do not know if the crime is related to the Versace murder.