1. Coco Chanel was a homophobe (and a racist)
Yes, this might be hard to believe, but the gay icon behind the luxury brand loved by so many of us was actually a pretty horrible individual. She was known as a liar, a racist, and a homophobe. Chanel was arrested for war crimes after WWII, for allegedly being involved with a German spy. She also was accused of stealing the formula for her signature perfume from a Jewish prisoner – And was openly anti-semitic. And what did she think of the LGBT community? Well, although rumored to be bisexual, Chanel has expressed some pretty homophobic views, and among many other things, she said this:
2. Yves Saint Laurent was bipolar, gay, and used to work for Dior
YSL is my personal favorite hot couture brand. But the man behind it, Yves Saint Laurent, had a complicated life. He was born in Algeria, a French colony at the time. At age 17, Laurent left home to pursue his dream of being a fashion designer. He moved to France and started working for Christian Dior. But shortly after, he was recruited to the French army, to fight against his own country – Algeria. Just days into the war Laurent has collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. He was hospitalized in a mental institution and was diagnosed as bipolar. To treat the condition, Laurent went through shock therapy, the only treatment available at the time. It was only after he recovered that he started his own brand, named after him – YSL. Laurent was gay and had a partner for many years. He died from brain cancer in 2008.
3. Gianni Versace was murdered by a serial killer, possibly because he was gay
You all know Versace, and you all probably know the face of the brand – Donatella Versace. But Versace, the Italian high fashion empire, was founded by Gianni Versace, who was openly gay and lived in Miami Beach, FL with his partner. On the morning of July 15, 1997, Versace was on his way to his favorite coffee shop to get his morning coffee. He was shot and killed by Andrew Cunanan, a psycho serial killer who was on a cross-country killing spree. Cunanan committed suicide shortly after, leaving his motive for the killing a mystery – But many believe he was mainly targeting the gay community, as 2 of his former 4 victims were gay men from San Diego, CA.
4. Calvin Klein was married to a woman for 20 years
Calvin Klein likes his men young. way young. This year he was mostly hanging out with model Kevin Baker, 29, and we all remember his previous fling with aspiring straight model Nick Gruber, 23 at the time they were dating. Klein is 74 years old. But Klein wasn’t always openly gay – In 1964 he married his first wife, Jayne Centre, and the two had a daughter together. They were married for 10 years. In 1986 Klein married again, this time to his assistant Kelly Rector. They got a divorce in April 2006, making this a long 20-year straight marriage.
5. Dolce & Gabbana almost went to prison – Together
Italian designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana met in Milan, Italy in 1980 – And became a power couple. Like, literally. The two started not only a 20+ year relationship but also a fashion empire that generates close to 1 Billion (yes, billion) dollars a year in revenue. But in 2009 things weren’t looking as great anymore, as the couple was facing a 20-month prison sentence in Italy for allegedly laundering money in the amount of 1.3 Billion Euros. They were convicted of the crime in October 2013, but about a year later were miraculously saved by the Italian supreme court – That overturned their conviction.
6. Alexander McQueen killed himself in 2010, a week after his mother died
Another openly gay designer whose life ended tragically was the British Alexander Mcqueen. McQueen was born in London in 1969 and became the head designer of Givenchy before founding his own high fashion brand. McQueen’s life was full of struggles.He came out at 18, but his family had a hard time accepting his sexuality.
Working in an industry that worships skinny and fit bodies, McQueen constantly felt he was too fat and had major body image issues. Desperate to lose weight McQueen went through liposuction and a stomach shortening surgery and indeed lost the extra weight – But that wasn’t enough to end his suffering.
McQueen started using drugs often, going on 3-day party sprees living on nothing but cocaine. in 2007, his mentor and friend Isabella Blow committed suicide. McQueen was devastated, and became obsessed with death – and got addicted to Crystal Meth. He started telling his friends he is planning to commit suicide on stage during his next fashion show with a gunshot. Eventually, in 2010, a week after his mother passed, McQueen tried committing suicide by swallowing a large number of painkillers. When failed, he hung himself in his closet room.
7. Giorgio Armani is the richest LGBT person in the world – And that’s not all
Giorgio Armani is a fascinating person. The 83-year-old Italian designer was actually going to become a doctor but somehow ended up in high fashion. He founded his super brand Armani when he was 41 years old. But the reason Armani is on this list is that he is the richest LGBT person in the world today (that we know of). Armani, who is a very private person, identifies as Bi-Sexual and is worth a whopping 8.1 Billion dollars. Yes, billion. He founded his brand with a small $10,000 investment, with his then partner Sergio Galeotti. Unfortunately, Galeotti died of AIDS in 1985.