PRINT December 1997


Diana's Subjects

A PHONE CALL FROM a friend in Milan brought the news that Gianni Versace had been shot in Miami. On Lake Como, where we spent some weeks this summer, an hour away from the Versace estate near Cernobbio and the resting place for his ashes, his tragic death was at once an incessant and evanescent item in the international news, and at the same time, a very local affair.

“Gay-boom-boom,” said Franca, the perfumed and petite woman who cuts my hair, the next day, acting out the curbside assassination, horrified and hungry to talk.

“A beautiful son of the lakes,” I said piously and provocatively, testing the waters in this vacation idyll where the Lega Nord propagates the secession of the North from what it considers the degenerate and impoverished South.

“Yes, si, una sensibilita italiana . . . but he liked a different kind of life, una vita americana, all mixed together . . . gay, drugs, black,

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