Versace at the 2009 Time 100 Gala.
2 May 1955 |
Reggio di Calabria, Italy
|Labels||Versace, Versus Versace|
Donatella Versace (born 2 May 1955) is an Italian fashion designer and current Vice-President of the Versace Group, as well as chief designer. She owns 20 percent of the entire stock market assets of Versace. Her brother, Santo Versace, owns 30 percent. Donatella's daughter Allegra Versace inherited 50% of the company stock after the death of Gianni Versace, Donatella's brother and Versace's founder.
Early life and fashion debut
Versace was born in the Italian city of Reggio Calabria, the youngest of four children in her family. Her father was a personal financier to the Italian aristocracy. An older sister, Tina, died at the age of ten from an improperly treated tetanus infection. In the mid-1970s, Donatella followed her older brother, Giovanni ("Gianni"), to pursue knitwear design in Florence, Italy. Donatella had planned to work for her brother in Public Relations, but she was more valuable to Gianni as a "muse and critic," according to Donatella during an interview with Vogue. Through her closeness to her brother's enterprises, Donatella plunged into the fashion world. A decade later, during the 1980s, Gianni launched a perfume dedicated to her, Blonde, and gave her own diffusion label, Versus, which remains a well-known Versace inner line.
Family and residence
Donatella and her former husband, American model Paul Beck, have two children: daughter Allegra (b. 28 June 1986), and son Daniel Versace (b. 1990). She is also the aunt of oldest brother Santo's two children, Francesca Versace, and Antonio Versace.
Donatella's deceased brother, Gianni Versace, had a large collection of homes worldwide that have since been sold, most notably his Manhattan, New York double-wide townhome, valued at over US$21,000,000 as well as his South Beach Mansion which at one time was appraised at $125,000,000. Donatella Versace does not permanently live at any one residence, but travels from one to the other.
Murder of Gianni Versace
On 15 July 1997, outside the re-constructed Versace Mansion, also known as Casa Casuarina, in Miami, Florida, Gianni Versace was shot dead by Andrew Cunanan. A multi-continent search ensued for the suspected spree killer, but Cunanan avoided capture by committing suicide a few days after the death of Gianni Versace. In the aftermath of the highly publicized murder and manhunt, most of the Versace family (including Donatella) moved temporarily to a secluded private resort in the Caribbean, canceling the Versace Spring-Summer 1999 Collection as well as their indirect operations of the company. She tried to cope using drugs, pills, and cocaine.
The official funeral of Gianni Versace was held in Milan Cathedral. More than 2,000 mourners attended the traditional Catholic service, which was also broadcast to millions of viewers worldwide. Among the many famous fashion designers and other celebrities in attendance were Giorgio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld, Diana, Princess of Wales, Naomi Campbell, Madonna, Courtney Love, Luciano Pavarotti, Carla Fendi and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, while Elton John and Sting performed a musical setting of the 23rd Psalm.
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She has given cameo performances in many films relating to fashion and its industry, such as Zoolander. Also, in many other films, including the 2006 hit The Devil Wears Prada, the mention of "Donatella" is used sporadically. In the ABC series Ugly Betty a fictional character, Fabia, played by actress Gina Gershon, is a parody of Donatella.
Donatella is the first to use notable celebrities to broadcast her clothing into the world on the catwalk and other public media such as advertisements, instead of using unknown models. Another member of the growing Versace success was Santo Versace S.p.A., Donatella's brother, who is also a fashion designer and the owner of Finanziaria Versace, an established Versace branch. Donatella soon proved to be the public relations giant within the Versace label and spread its name throughout Europe and most of the United States. Donatella chose to place some of her good friends, Lil' Kim, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Courtney Love, Christina Aguilera, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Demi Moore, in high esteem in the Versace advertising sector, making them and other A-List celebrities such as Beyoncé and January Jones the persona and image of Versace. Her popularity grew when she designed the famous Versace Green Dress, also known as the "Jungle-Dress", which was worn by Jennifer Lopez at the Grammys in 2000.
Promotion and success
A year and three days after Gianni's death in July 1998, Donatella Versace mounted her first couture show for the Versace Atelier at the Hôtel Ritz Paris. She built her runway over the hotel's swimming pool, as her brother had done every season, though this time using sheer glass. She now oversees the production of a dozen collections each year, though these days, Donatella is just as famous for her celebrity entourage and glittering parties. Regular guests include Sir Elton John, Liz Hurley, Rakeem Young, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Kate Moss. Even Prince Charles attends Donatella's parties for the famous and elite throughout Europe.
Branching into other fields, the company has created the grand, luxurious Palazzo Versace resort on the Gold Coast of Australia. Another growing symbol of the Versace style, the Burj al-Arab, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), boasts a broad collection of Versace furniture and beddings in its expensive and lavish rooms.
Plans for the Palazzo Versace Dubai were announced in May 2005. Gianni Versace SpA, Sunland Group Ltd. and Emirates International Holdings have announced the Palazzo Versace resort to be constructed in the Arabian Bays on the Dubai Creek in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The second Palazzo Versace will boast a number of suites and luxury villas, including an exclusive spa. Official plans are to begin construction in 2006 and have the hotel completed sometime in the year 2008. The interior of the hotel will be furnished with various Versace collections. As Creative Director, Donatella will carry out final plans and design strategies for the hotel and resort compound. This will be the second Palazzo Versace hotel ever to be built, and the second hotel in Dubai to boast a wide range of Versace collections. In October 2002, Gianni and Donatella's most famously designed Versace clothing was displayed in a special exhibit of the historical Victoria and Albert Museum of London to be honored for extraordinary fashion success and symbolism worldwide.
In 2010, Donatella's charity work earned her a Do Something With Style Award nomination from the VH1 Do Something Awards. She was nominated for providing art supplies to children and creating a tote bag, whose proceeds will go to Starlight and the ONE Foundations. The awards show, produced by Vh1, is dedicated to honoring people who do good and is powered by Do Something, an organization that aims to empower, celebrate, and inspire young people.
In popular culture
Donatella has been regularly impersonated by Maya Rudolph on the American sketch comedy/variety show Saturday Night Live, which airs on the NBC network. In reality, Rudolph and Versace are good friends. She is also perpetrated as a highly publicized user of the Power-Plate.
Versace was portrayed by actress Dania Deville in the 1998 film The Versace Murder.
Versace was also mentioned in the song 'Gulabi Ankhein' from the 2012 Bollywood Movie Student of the Year.
Premiering October 5th, 2013 on Lifetime Network, will be a movie drama called "House of Versace". It is based on true events of the Versace family. Gina Gershon will be starring in the role of Donatella Versace.
- Gianni Versace, brother of Donatella Versace
- Santo Versace, the eldest brother in the Versace House.
- Palazzo Versace, first Versace hotel in chain
- Collins, Lauren (24 September 2007). "Mondo Donatella". The New Yorker: 158.
- Elton John AIDS Foundation patrons
- "Do Something". Do Something. Retrieved 2010-07-15.
- Camber, Rebecca (2006-07-18). "Madonna looks amazing thanks to £7,000 vibrating plate". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2009-07-23.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Donatella Versace.|
- The Official Versace Website
- Donatella Versace at the Internet Movie Database
- Donatella Versace at the Fashion Model Directory
- Donatella Versace interview with Harper's BAZAAR magazine
- http://www.contactmusic.com/new/xmlfeed.nsf/mndwebpages/allegra%20inherits%20versace.s%20fortune /Allegra inheirting half of the company].