Giorgio Armani, famed fashion designer, is reportedly the new owner of the private isle of Skorpios, although the Italian billionaire denied buying it from the last descendant of Artistotle Onassis. Whether he denied that recently is a mystery as reports differ significantly. The reports claim Giorgio Armani beat out prospective buyers like Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates, and pop icon Madonna, paying 190 million euros to purchase the Ionian paradise,
Skorpios has been in the Onassis family for 47 years. Aristotle Onassis bought Skorpios in 1963. It is located ten minutes by boat from the island of Nydri, east of Lefkas. Skorpios was the site of one of the most talked about weddings of the 20th century, when Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, widow of assassinated president, John F. Kennedy, married billionaire Greek oil magnate, Aristotle Onassis on October 20, 1968, Skorpios became a name well known to Americans and photographers did whatever they could to get a shot of Jackie they could sell. Jackie Kennedy and Aristotle Onassis were a favorite target of the tabloids.
Jackie Kennedy’s decision to marry Onassis brought the well-loved and glamorous widow her first taste of widespread disapproval from many who believed Onassis only wanted Jackie to improve his social standing. At the time, Aristotle Onassis’ children, Alexander and Christina, were reportedly highly disenchanted with their new stepmother, who became known in the press as “Jackie O.” Photos of a sullen-faced Christina Onassis were often accompanied by tales of how much she hated Jackie. After Onassis’ death, Christina became the new target of the tabloids and later, her daughter, Athina, would often be seen under headlines that proclaimed: “The Richest Kid in the World!”
During the 6 years she and Onassis were married, Jackie O often got away and relaxed on the island of Skorpios. Indeed, it was the very spot where she was photographed nude on the beach in 1971. After many years of made up stories, photographer, Settimio Garritano revealed the real tale of how he came to take the photos of Jackie strolling around the beach on Skorpios in the buff.
According to Garritano, Jackie had no objections to him following her around Greece and Italy, photographing her. “She always smiled at me, acknowledged me. Jackie loved to be photographed. She would have all the newspapers and magazines bought for her so she could see whether she was featured.” But Skorpios was more protected.
Garritano says he had to befriend Achilles, the head of the crew of workers who were ferried to Skorpios every day to take care of the Onassis getaway. Achilles helped the photographer get on the isle disguised as a gardener. During these trips, Garritano found out Jackie liked to sunbathe in the nude and he was there with his camera that summer of 1971.
Settimio Garritano had his problems smuggling the film out of Greece. “… Onassis was respected and protected by the regime,” he said, “All long-lens pictures, especially Jackie, were declared stolen,” and then he couldn’t even sell them. Everyone wanted to see the photos, but no one wanted to publish them, fearing the backlash of the surefire scandal. Not until 1972, and at the encouragement of Aristotle Onassis’ son, Alexander, did the photos see the light in an Italian magazine, “Playmen.”
Only a year later, Alexander died at 24 years old in a tragic plane crash, leaving his broken-hearted father with no will to live. Alexander was buried on Skorpios and Aristotle Onassis was said to spend much time there, just sitting by his burial place. His mother, Athina Niarchos committed suicide in 1974 and Aristotle Onassis died in 1975, leaving his wife, Jackie and daughter, Christina to battle over his estate. After two years of legal wrangling, Jackie accepted $26 million dollars in exchange for waiving all claims against the estate.
Despite these awful tragedies, the tabloids and comedians like Joan Rivers, made merciless fun of Christina Onassis’ appearance and weight problems. She was called the “Greek Tanker” and Joan said “Is Christina Onassis the ugliest woman in the world. Arf! Arf!” Christina married 4 times but only had one daughter, Athina, with her last husband, Thierry Roussel. Christina died in 1988 at the age of 37 from an apparent heart attack believed to have been brought on by drug abuse and constant dieting. Already divorced from Roussel, Athina was her sole heir. Aristotle and Christina Onassis were buried on Skorpios, alongside Alexander. Onassis’ sister, Artemis was buried there as well.
Athina is now 25 years old and married to Brazilian show jumping horseman, Alvaro de Miranda. She generally goes by the name Athina Onassis Miranda and is also an accomplished show jumper. The couple reside in Brazil. Until there is some official confirmation from Onassis representatives or the buyer, we can assume that Athina Onassis still owns Skorpios. The denial from Armani appears to have been made in 2010, although Wikipedia is listing the article’s date in 2009, but retrieved in 2010 .
Sources: Wikipedia: Skorpios, Athina Onassis Roussel
Luxist.com: Armani beats Abramovich and Gates (9/10/2010)
Glamurama: Materia Paradise (9/27/2010)
Life In Italy: Giorgio Armani denies reports he has bought Greek Island of Skorpios (9/7)
DougieThompson.com: The Liberation of Jackie O (11/7/2009)