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 at the end of 2014 reported revenues of €548.7 million.
Today, Versace is one of the owners of Gianni Versace SpA and holds the dual position of 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.
The youngest of Versace siblings, Donatella had a particularly strong bond with her brother Gianni, the founder of the storied label, and was the natural successor to him after his death in 1997. Ms Versace debuted her first collection for Atelier spring/summer ’98 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. 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 (J.W.) Anderson, who designed a capsule collection for the label.
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.