I was excited for House of Gucci since it was reported that Lady Gaga and Adam Driver would lead the film. Being a fan of the film’s lead actors and true crime stories, I immediately checked out the book that inspired the film to learn more about the crime that shook the fashion world.
House of Gucci by Sara Gay Forden is a gripping book that takes readers through the history of Gucci. From founder Guccio Gucci’s venture into leather goods to the successful expansion of the Gucci company. Success that brought fortune and power to the Gucci name, causing years of power struggles within the family as they tangled themselves with legal troubles, tax schemes, and financial ruin. Amid all the fashion and family war, the book details the relationship between Gucci heir Maurizio Gucci and social climber Patrizi Reggiani from their passionate beginning to their toxic end.
Interested in more sensational nonfiction like House of Gucci? Check out the titles below that explore feuding families, fashion victims, and notorious women.
A Name to Die For
The Gucci family wanted their name to stand for style and class, but by the 1980s, the Gucci name became more known for their family disputes than their high-quality products. As we know, the Gucci name became a name to die for, even to kill for. To learn more about the Gucci family, check out In the Name of Gucci. In her memoir, Patricia Gucci recounts her own history from being the secret love child of Aldo Gucci to being his sole heir after he disowned the sons that betrayed him. For more family infighting, read Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe. Empire of Pain follows the rise of the Sackler family, whose billion-dollar fortune built from selling the painkiller Valim and their eventual ruin from the greed that caused family conflicts and made them indifferent to the millions addicted to OxyContin.
When Oscar de la Renta first coined the term “fashion victim” he used it to describe person who is unable to recognize style, falling victim to short-lived fads and materialism, but I’m taking that term and looking at people that were literally fashion victims. A few years after the murder of Maurizio Gucci, the fashion world was shocked once again by the death of designer Gianni Versace. Read Vulgar Favors: The Hunt for Andrew Cunanan, the Man Who Killed Gianni Versace by Maureen Orth for an in-depth look into the murder and manhunt that inspired the series The Assassination of Gianni Versace. People have gone to extremities to be fashionable, even if it killed them, as seen in Killer Fashion: Poisonous Petticoats, Strangulating Scarves, and Other Deadly Garments Throughout History by Jennifer Wright. A truly entertaining read about deadly fads like applying radium to flapper dresses, collars that choked wearers to death, and other deadly fashion trends that cause readers to face palm.
Fabulously, Notorious Women
Driven to madness and out for revenge, Patrizia Reggiani hired a hitman to kill her ex-husband Maurizio Gucci. In a recent interview, opens a new window, Lady Gaga had this to say about playing the infamous Black Widow, "I don't believe in the glorification of murder. I do believe in the empowerment of women." I couldn’t agree more Gaga, so instead of selecting books on murderous women, I found two fabulously notorious women whose stories are just as film worthy. Diamond Doris: The True Story of the World's Most Notorious Jewel Thiefby Doris Payne is an entertaining memoir of a bold and glamourous woman that made a career in pulling off diamond heists, refusing to be defined by society’s prejudices. Where Doris Payne was a likable antihero, the same cannot be said of Anna Delvey. In My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress by Rachel DeLoache Williams, Williams recounts her friendship with Anna Delvey, a young con artist that posed as a German heiress and scammed Williams out of more than $62,000. This true story of money, greed, and friendship is the inspiration for the Netflix series.
Interested in more House of Gucci read-a-likes? Check out the titles below to discover more fashionable titles that slay.
This blog first appeared November 2021.