After The Last Duel, Ridley Scott is already back with a new film: House of Gucci, which traces two decades of the life of the famous Italian family and focuses in particular on the relationship between Maurizio Gucci and Patrizia Reggiani.
Warning, this article contains spoilers on House of Gucci.
Directed by Ridley Scott who for the occasion surrounded himself with a 5-star cast, House of Gucci tells the fate of the Italian luxury empire through in particular the story of love and hatred between the heir Gucci , Maurizio (Adam Driver), and Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga), the woman he married and who would commission his murder years later.
Adapted from the non-fictional book The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamor, and Greed by Sara G Forden, released in 2001, the feature film, like any work of fiction, takes some liberties with reality.
If the film begins in 1978 with the meeting of Patrizia Reggiani and Maurizio Gucci at a party, it was actually in the early 1970s that the two young people born in 1948 met for the first time.
She, a young woman from a modest background but whose father had enough money to afford to spoil her, and he, son of actress Sandra Ravel and Rodolfo Gucci (Jeremy Irons in the film), him- same son of Guccio Gucci, the founder of the Italian label.
“He fell madly in love with me. I was exciting and different. I didn’t think much of him at first. He was just the silent boy whose teeth overlapped “, recounts Reggiani in an interview with Guardian in 2016 about their meeting.
Two years after this famous celebration, the couple get married, without the approval of Maurizio’s father who does not look favorably on this union but who ends up accepting his daughter-in-law when she gives birth to her first child, Alessandra. , in 1977. In 1981, his little sister Allegra was born, completely absent from House of Gucci.
For several years, the couple lived in New York in luxury then relocated to Milan in 1982. Shortly after, things took a turn for the worse, since when Rodolfo died in 1983, his son inherited 50% of the shares in Gucci. “Maurizio has gone mad. Until then, I was his main advisor on everything Gucci related. But he wanted to be the best, and he stopped listening to me“, assures Regianni in his interview with the Guardian.
What precipitate the end of their story: in 1985, Maurizio would have told Patrizia that he was going on a professional trip, and would never have returned to the marital home.
… to hate
During the following decade, relations are strained between the former lovers. The divorce is officially pronounced in 1994 when the heir Gucci remakes his life with Paola Franchi (Camille Cottin in the feature film), whom he wishes to marry.
In addition, under his leadership, the Gucci house lost a lot of money to the point that Maurizio was forced to sell his shares in 1993 to the Bahrain-based investment group Investcorp. “I was angry with Maurizio for a lot, a lot of things back then. But above all, that. Losing the family business. It was stupid. It was a failure. I was filled with rage, but there was nothing I could do“, recalls Reggiani who finally made a fatal decision.
On March 27, 1995, Maurizio Gucci was shot dead in front of his office in Milan. Quickly suspected of having ordered the murder, it was not until two years later that his ex-wife was arrested after one of his accomplices sold the wick.
A highly publicized trial follows where Patrizia is nicknamed the Black Widow by the Italian press. If she denied throughout her involvement in the assassination, she was still sentenced to 29 years in prison in 1998 for having organized the crime, reduced to 26 years on appeal.
I didn’t want to miss it.
Three other people were convicted of having participated in the plot: a clairvoyant friend of Patrizia, Pina Auriemma (Salma Hayek on screen), a relative of the latter who helped her contact a hitman, the hitman and the driver.
Patrizia was released in 2016 for good behavior after 18 years behind bars and responded on her release from prison to a journalist who asked her why she had not killed Maurizio herself: “My eyesight is not very good. I didn’t want to miss it.“
If Ridley Scott’s feature film gives pride of place to Maurizio and Patrizia’s relationship, he does not forget to linger behind the scenes of the Gucci brand, remaining for the most part faithful to reality.
Between 1972 and 1982, Maurizio, helped by Patrizia, worked in harmony with his uncle Aldo Gucci (Al Pacino in the film) who held 50% of the shares in the company. But when Maurizio inherits the other 50% when his father dies, he starts a war against his uncle to gain full control of Gucci.
In 1986, when he only held 16.7% of the shares, Aldo spent a year in prison for tax evasion, denounced by his own son, Paolo (Jared Leto), who had not digested to have been ousted from the company after trying to launch his own clothing line under the Gucci name, without telling his father. In 1989, Maurizio joined forces with the investment fund Investcorp to buy out his uncle’s shares and became the president of the firm.
And if the first days under his reign went rather well, the decline came quickly and from the beginning of the 90s the finances were no longer in good shape. Maurizio therefore sold his shares to Investcorp in 1993, putting an end to the Gucci family’s involvement in the company …
It was the year of Maurizio’s death that Gucci finally went public in New York and Amsterdam. The company then flourished under the leadership of its new CEO (and former close friend of Rodolfo and Maurizio), Domenico De Sole (Jack Huston), and creative director Tom Ford (Reeve Carney).
The characters of House of Gucci in pictures: