Gucci Chief Falls Prey to the Black Widow

by Ray Setterfield

Event Date: March 27, 1995
Location: Milan, Italy

Maurizio Gucci, the 46-year-old heir to the Gucci luxury leather goods and fashion dynasty, was shot dead as he arrived for work at his office in Milan on this day.

Three years later his former wife, Patrizia Reggiani, who is known in Italy as “the Black Widow” or “Lady Gucci”, was jailed after being found guilty of paying a hit-man 300,000 euros to carry out the murder.

Maurizio inherited 50 per cent of the family business after the death of his father in 1983 but spent his money with such reckless abandon that ten years later he was forced to sell his shares to the investment group Investcorp, based in Bahrain.

He married Patrizia, a wealthy Italian socialite in 1973, but he left her in 1985 for a younger woman. The couple divorced in 1991, after which Patrizia was said to be furious about other women that her former husband was dating. Patrizia feared that her daughter’s inheritance would be jeopardised if Maurizio remarried, a situation that became more possible as a procession of women vied for Maurizio’s affections.

Her initial sentence of 29 years was reduced to 26 years on appeal and cut further for good behaviour. She was released after serving 16 years.

Bizarrely, just before her release, Patrizia said in an interview that she wanted to return to the Gucci fold. "I dream of returning to Gucci," she said. "I still feel like a Gucci – in fact, the most Gucci of all. I have the qualifications: for years I went shopping around the world. I came from the world of jewels and it is to that world that I want to return."

Outrageously extravagant, Patrizia used to spend thousands of euros a month just on flowers. She once said: “I would rather weep in a Rolls-Royce than be happy on a bicycle.”

Published: April 25, 2016

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