This week, the internet lit up with fabulous pictures from the set of House of Gucci showing its stars Adam Driver and Lady Gaga decked out in glamorous 1980s skiwear. Based on the real life murder of the last Gucci scion to run the designer fashion house, Maurizio Gucci, which was organised by his ex-wife, the socialite Patrizia Reggiani, the Ridley Scott film promises to be a thriller. But who is Patrizia, and what happened to her after Gucci’s murder?
Although not born into high society, Patrizia revelled in it: from a young age her father bought her mink coats and sports cars, and she managed to ascend the social ladder to rub shoulders with Milan’s movers and shakers, which is how she came to meet Maurizio. The couple were married in 1972 and after some resistance from his family, were eventually accepted into the fold, with the Guccis buying the couple numerous properties, private islands and yachts. In the 1980s, they were one of Italy’s first celebrity couples, driving with a personalised number plate of their portmanteau ‘Mauizia’ and befriending the likes of the Kennedys. So glamorous were the couple that Patrizia was dubbed ‘Lady Gucci’ in the press.
After having two daughters together, Maurizio left Patrizia for another (younger) woman in 1991, reportedly leaving one day and never coming back. The following year, Patrizia suffered a brain tumour, which she had removed. In 1993, Maurizio sold his share in Gucci to Investcorp for $120 million, a move that rankled Patrizia, who had been so involved with the brand throughout their marriage.
Fast-forward two years and Maurizio was dead: gunned down as he entered his office one spring morning. Patrizia was immediately a suspect, but it was not until 31 January 1997 that she would be put arrested and 1998 until she would be convicted of arranging her husband’s death.
Reportedly spurred into action due to her sense of mistreatment, it emerged in the trial that Patrizia had hired the gunman and getaway driver to kill Maurizio in order to ensure that he could not marry his new partner, Paola Franchi, and disinherit the couple’s daughters, Allegra and Alessandra. She was caught after one of her accomplices boasted of the murder. The press soon had a new nickname for her: Vedova Nera – the Black Widow.
After she as found guilty, Patrizia was sentenced to 26 years on appeal, and famously turned down her first offer of release in 2011 – because it required her to work. In 2014, she had a change of heart, and took a job at a Milanese costume jewellery called Bozart. On her first day of work, she was caught by paparazzi, who quizzed her, ‘why did you hire a hitman to kill Maurizio Gucci? Why didn’t you shoot him yourself?’ Her response? ‘My eyesight is not so good. I didn’t want to miss.’
Subscribe now for a trial offer of 3 issues for £1 plus free digital editions and home delivery.
More from Tatler
In order to see this embed, you must give consent to Social Media cookies. Open my cookie preferences.