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Donatella Versace

Artistic Director & Vice President, Versace

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Biography

Having been at the helm of the Versace empire as artistic director since 1997, Donatella Versace has overseen the growth of the group’s luxury clothing lines alongside the expansion into accessories, home furnishings and hotels, creating a luxury lifestyle brand which was forecast to hit $850 million in revenue in 2018. As both artistic director and vice president of the board, she is responsible for the overall vision of the house, from its catwalk collections and image, to its global growth and future in the digital world.

In 2018, the company was acquired by  Michael Kors  Holdings — now rebranded Capri Holdings — for a value of $2.1 billion. Donatella and her family now own €150 million ($176 million) in group stock.

The youngest of Versace siblings, Donatella had a particularly strong bond with her brother Gianni the founder of the storied label — she became head designer at Versus in 1994 — and was the natural successor to him after his death in 1997. Ms Versace debuted her first collection for Atelier Spring/Summer 1998 on a see-through catwalk held over the swimming pool at the Ritz Hotel in Paris which resulted in instant acclaim from industry insiders.

The larger-than-life mogul is credited with having retained a coveted status for the Atelier Versace and ready-to-wear lines. As a tribute Gianni Versace on the 20th anniversary of his death she enlisted '90s supermodels including  Naomi Campbell  , Cindy Crawford and Claudia Schiffer to walk the runway in the lamé dresses that the brand made famous, receiving a standing ovation. 

The celebrated designer has also overseen the repositioning of the Versus line, appointing  Christopher Kane  in 2009 to revive the brand, followed in 2012 by Jonathan Anderson , who designed a capsule collection for the label. In 2013, Versace announced that Anthony Vaccarello would be the latest designer to produce a capsule collection for the label. The success of this saw Vaccarello hired as Versus Versace's permanent creative director and the line more than double its year-on-year revenues in 2014 — he departed in 2016.

In 2008 Versace was appointed as an honorary chair of London’s Fashion Fringe initiative founded by acclaimed journalist  Colin McDowell . An active philanthropist, Versace serves as patron of the Elton John AIDS Foundation and in 2010 was awarded a “Do Something” award by VH1 for her contributions to charitable work. In December 2017, Donatella Versace was awarded with the “Fashion Icon” award during the Fashion Awards, while in 2018 she won the International award at the CFDA. That same year she was honoured as “Designer of the Year” both by British GQ and by GQ China, and awarded the “Fashion Icon Award” at the GQ Awards in Berlin. She has also received the CNMI Award in recognition of sustainability at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards in 2018.

Who is Donatella Versace?

Born on May 2, 1955, Donatella Versace is an Italian fashion designer and businesswoman. Having been at the helm of the Versace empire as artistic director since 1997, she has overseen the growth of the group’s luxury clothing lines alongside the expansion into accessories, home furnishings and hotels, creating a luxury lifestyle brand which was forecast to hit $850 million in revenue in 2018. In 2018, the Versace company was acquired by Michael Kors Holdings — now rebranded Capri Holdings — for a value of $2.1 billion. Donatella and her family now own €150 million ($176 million) in group stock.

As both artistic director and vice president of the board, she is responsible for the overall vision of the house, from its catwalk collections and image, to its global growth and future in the digital world.

How has Donatella Versace shaped the Versace fashion brand?

The larger-than-life mogul is credited with having retained a coveted status for the Atelier Versace and ready-to-wear lines. She debuted her first collection for Atelier Spring/Summer 1998 on a see-through catwalk held over the swimming pool at the Ritz Hotel in Paris which resulted in instant acclaim from industry insiders.

Donatella Versace has also overseen the repositioning of the Versus line, appointing Christopher Kane in 2009 to revive the brand, followed in 2012 by Jonathan Anderson, who designed a capsule collection for the label. In 2013, Versace announced that Anthony Vaccarello would be the latest designer to produce a capsule collection for the label. The success of this saw Vaccarello hired as Versus Versace's permanent creative director and the line more than double its year-on-year revenues in 2014 — he departed in 2016.

Who is Donatella Versace’s family?

She is the youngest of four children. Her father, Antonio, was a salesman and her mother, Francesca, was a dressmaker. Her older brother Gianni opened the first Versace boutique in Milan's Via della Spiga in 1978, and it quickly became a sensation. Versace soon became one of the hottest fashion brands of the moment, and Gianni employed his sister Donatella as Vice President, overseeing creative oversight, where she acted as a key consultant to Versace.

Versace was shot and killed on 15 July 1997, at the age of 50, on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion as he returned from a morning walk on Ocean Drive. In the aftermath of the highly publicised manhunt, most of the Versace family, including Donatella, moved temporarily to a secluded private resort in the Caribbean. Three days after Gianni’s death, Donatella Versace mounted her first haute couture show for the label at the Hôtel Ritz Paris.

Does Donatella Versace have a husband and children?

Versace and her former husband, American model Paul Beck have two children: daughter Allegra Versace Beck (born 30 June 1986), and son Daniel Versace (born 1989). upon Gianni's death her daughter Allegra inherited 50 percent of the label.

Donatella Versace’s accolades and awards.

In 2008 Versace was appointed as an honorary chair of London’s Fashion Fringe initiative founded by acclaimed journalist Colin McDowell. An active philanthropist, Versace serves as patron of the Elton John AIDS Foundation and in 2010 was awarded a “Do Something” award by VH1 for her contributions to charitable work. In December 2017, Donatella Versace was awarded with the “Fashion Icon” award during the Fashion Awards, while in 2018 she won the International award at the CFDA. That same year she was honoured as “Designer of the Year” both by British GQ and by GQ China, and awarded the “Fashion Icon Award” at the GQ Awards in Berlin. She has also received the CNMI Award in recognition of sustainability at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards in 2018.

Donatella Versace’s top celebrity partnerships, friendships and collaborations.

The designer is notable in the celebrity scene, taking after her brother Gianni, credited with inventing the supermodel vogue of the 1990s, by discovering and featuring major supermodels like Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista, all of whom he featured both on the runway and in his ad campaigns.

She has designed advertising campaigns for Versace that included Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Courtney Love, Christina Aguilera, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Demi Moore, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga and. Other examples of collaborations include:

  • Jennifer Lopez: Versace’s popularity grew when she designed the Green Versace dress of Jennifer Lopez, also known as the "Jungle-Dress", which was worn by Jennifer Lopez at the 42nd Grammy Awards in 2000, and then again at the label’s Spring/Summer 2020 show, creating an Instagram sensation.
  • Kim Kardashian: She also counts Kim Kardashian as a fan, wearing many pieces from the brand’s archive, and created her dress for the 2018 Met Gala.

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Vital Statistics

Born
2 May 1955
Nationality

Italy

Location
Italy

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