The most highly-anticipated show of the new year is undoubtedly The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, Ryan Murphy’s take on designer Gianni Versace’s 1997 murder outside his Miami mansion. The designer was known for championing supermodels in his campaigns and shows, and one of his frequent collaborators, Cindy Crawford, will be tuning in to see the TV adaptation of her late friend’s life – and death.
“I will definitely watch the show,” Crawford told PEOPLE at Miami’s Art Basel in December. “I did many campaigns for Versace. Gianni loved women and wanted them to feel good. He wanted us to be the stars. He was wonderful. I enjoyed doing the campaigns with them.”
She recently paid tribute to the 20th anniversary of his death during Milan Fashion Week. She joined Gianni’s sister and the brand’s designer Donatella Versace and other original supers including Carla Bruni, Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen and Claudia Schiffer for a walk down the runway wearing gold “dazzling metal mesh” dresses, Gianni’s signature.
“When I was asked to pay tribute to him a few months ago it was a great experience” she said. “I first asked who else was going to do it. And I was happy my daughter Kaia also was with me for this. We did a real fashion show and both of us had reason to be there. It was an incredible moment for us. Mother and daughter together in that setting.”
Her 16-year-old daughter, Kaia Gerber, opened the show with Gigi and Bella Hadid before the five legends took the catwalk. “It was very emotional for me, and it was amazing for Kaia to see me as I was, not just as her mother,” Crawford said. “The whole tribute had a lasting impression, bringing back memories of more than 20 years ago. It was a moment.” (Though it was a moment complete with a little supermodel mother/daughter bickering – when Gerber found out Crawford had booked the show, Crawford told People, “She’s like, ‘Wait, do we have to walk down together?’ I said, ‘No. I don’t even want to walk down with you. I’m going to walk down with the ladies that are my age. You can go with the girls that are your age.’”)
But as excited as Crawford is to see the series, the brand recently denounced the project.
“The Versace family has neither authorized nor had any involvement whatsoever in the forthcoming TV series about the death of Mr. Gianni Versace,” the brand told PEOPLE in a statement. “Since Versace did not authorize the book on which it is partly based nor has it taken part in the writing of the screenplay, this TV series should only be considered as a work of fiction.”
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Gianni’s lover, Antonio D’Amico (played by Ricky Martin) also spoke out against the show, saying some images from production were not factual. “The picture of Ricky Martin holding the body in his arms is ridiculous,” D’Amico told The Observer. “Maybe it’s the director’s poetic license, but that is not how I reacted.”
You can catch The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story premiere on Jan. 17 on FX.
— with reporting by Linda Marx