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The Universal Magazine

Donatella Versace: Queen of Fashion

Portrait of Donatella Versace at a fashion event

Dive into the flamboyant and daring universe of one of the queens of the international fashion world: Italian Donatella Versace. Discover the fascinating story of this designer who has managed to combine glamour and modernity to perpetuate the legacy of the Versace House.

From her beginnings alongside her brother Gianni, to her consecration as artistic director, we invite you to explore the evolution of her unique style and her inspirations.

Exclusive immersion into the life and creativity of this exceptional woman, who has conquered the world with her unique and daring creations, always tinged with the Versace signature.

The beginnings of Donatella

A childhood influenced by fashion

Donatella Versace, born on May 2, 1955 in Reggio de Calabre, Italy, grew up in a family passionate about fashion.

Her mother, Franca, was a dressmaker and influenced the tastes of Donatella and her illustrious brother Gianni Versace, also born in Reggio in 1946, in fashion and design. The latter became one of the iconic figures of the fashion world long before her.

Donatella developed a keen sense of style and a love for clothing and accessories. She, who was very early on the muse of her brother, always worked closely with him, devoting herself to the creation and design of clothing.

Entry into the Versace universe

At the age of 26, Donatella officially joined the Versace fashion house, founded by her elder brother Gianni in 1978. She began her career as a designer of the accessories line and under his tutelage, Donatella gained solid experience in design, marketing, and public relations.

Donatella’s opinion on her creations was very important to her. With the help of their brother Santo, later appointed CEO, the trio made the Versace brand one of the most influential and famous fashion houses in the world.

The succession of the Versace empire

The tragic death of Gianni Versace

On July 15, 1997, Gianni Versace was assassinated in front of his house in Miami Beach by serial killer Andrew Cunanan. Not everyone was yet on the internet and social networks did not exist, but the whole world was in shock, especially since the killer was on the run.

Shortly before her death in Paris, Lady Diana had personally attended the funeral of her friend Gianni, alongside Sting, Elton John, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, Karl Lagerfeld, Azzedine Alaïa…

This is the end of the glamour of the 1990s, Gianni’s disappearance being an earthquake in the fashion industry but also in Donatella’s life, who was very close, as mentioned earlier, to her brother.

The Netflix series American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace by Ryan Murphy depicts this tragic event, although Donatella and the Versace clan did not approve of this version of the story.

The takeover and consolidation of the empire

Despite her grief, Donatella courageously decided to take over the reins of the family fashion house and perpetuate her brother’s legacy.

She became the sole artistic director of the brand and worked tirelessly to sublimate Gianni’s vision while maintaining coherence in the DNA of the Versace House.

Under her leadership, the Versace brand continued to thrive and dominate the fashion world with bold and innovative creations.

Donatella Versace period

Donatella Versace and Jennifer Lopez wearing the famous green dress during a Versace fashion show
Donatella Versace and Jennifer Lopez wearing the famous green dress during a Versace fashion show

Over the years, the Versace house has launched several successful collections and products that have marked the fashion industry. Here are some of these landmark moments:

  • 1997: Following Gianni’s assassination, Donatella becomes the artistic director of the Versace House.
  • 1998: Donatella’s first fashion show as artistic director, hailed by critics.
  • 2000: The legendary Jungle Dress worn by Jennifer Lopez at the 2000 Grammy Awards instantly becomes iconic and helps make Donatella an essential figure in fashion.
  • 2009: Launch of the Versace Home collection, which extends the brand’s glamorous aesthetic to interior decoration and home accessories.
  • 2012: Lady Gaga walks for Versace during Paris Fashion Week.
  • 2016: Donatella has Gigi Hadid and Karlie Kloss walk for the La Vida Loca campaign.
  • 2018: Versace collaborates with streetwear brand Kith for a capsule collection, demonstrating Donatella’s ability to adapt to current trends while remaining true to the Versace spirit.
  • 2021: The Versace House presents its first collection in collaboration with Fendi, called Fendace.

These successes and many others testify to Donatella Versace’s ability to innovate and perpetuate the brand’s legacy, while evolving her style over the decades.

Donatella’s imprint on the fashion industry

The evolution of Versace’s style between the Gianni and Donatella periods is fascinating to analyze. Both artistic directors brought their own visions and aesthetics to the brand. Let’s examine the notable differences and improvements that Donatella has managed to bring to the brand since taking the reins.

Gianni Versace period (1978-1997)

Under the direction of Gianni, Maison Versace was recognized for its bold prints, bright colors, and sexy silhouettes. Gianni captured the spirit of the times, drawing inspiration from art, culture, and history to create collections that reflected the extravagance and energy of the 80s and 90s.

Gianni’s creations were characterized by bold cuts, sumptuous ornaments, and a mix of luxurious materials such as silk, leather, and lace.

Donatella Versace Era (1997-present)

Donatella posing in a workshop surrounded by Versace creations
Donatella posing in a workshop surrounded by Versace creations

Succeeding Gianni, Donatella preserved the essence of the brand while adding her own touch. The improvements she made include:

  • Modernization of Silhouettes: Donatella adapted Versace’s creations to contemporary trends by offering more fluid and streamlined cuts without sacrificing the glamour and femininity that characterize the brand.
  • Integration of Technology: Under Donatella’s direction, Versace embraced technological advances in clothing production, using innovative techniques to create unique and avant-garde pieces.
  • Collaborations and Diversification: Donatella expanded the brand’s horizon by collaborating with other renowned designers and brands such as H&M and Fendi, and developing new product lines such as home accessories and children’s collections.
  • Commitment to Diversity: Donatella demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity by featuring models of different origins, sizes, and genders, reflecting a more inclusive vision of beauty and fashion.
  • Social Responsibility: Under Donatella’s leadership, Versace became more environmentally conscious by adopting more sustainable practices in the production of its collections. This innovation includes creating more eco-friendly stores that use durable materials and energy-efficient equipment, providing a healthy environment for customers and employees. She also stated, “Fur? I am out of that. I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right.”

Donatella succeeded in preserving her brother Gianni’s legacy while bringing improvements and a modern vision to the brand. She adapted Maison Versace to the evolution of fashion and consumer expectations while remaining true to the glamorous and bold spirit that made the legendary Maison famous.

Under her leadership, Versace diversified and expanded by launching new lines, including children’s collections, perfumes, home accessories, and collaborations with other brands. These initiatives expanded the brand’s audience and increased its revenue.

Donatella’s efforts to modernize Versace and adapt collections to current trends have led to a significant increase in sales and profitability, particularly through the use of social media and marketing campaigns with celebrities.

Iconic Collaborations

Donatella Versace accompanied by the American singer Lady Gaga
Donatella Versace accompanied by the American singer Lady Gaga

Throughout her career, Donatella has collaborated with some of the biggest names in the fashion and entertainment industry.

From Madonna to Lady Gaga, and Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry, these collaborations have helped strengthen Versace’s reputation as a bold and avant-garde brand.

Awards and Distinctions

Donatella Versace posing on a red carpet
Donatella Versace posing on a red carpet

Throughout her fashion career, Donatella Versace has been honored numerous times for her work and commitment. Among the most notable distinctions are:

  • The Superstar Award from the Fashion Group International in 2008
  • The Women of the Year Award from Glamour in 2010
  • The Fashion Icon of the Year Award at the Fashion Awards, organized by the British Fashion Council, in 2017
  • The Green Carpet Fashion Award in 2018 for her commitment to sustainability

These honors not only illustrate Versace’s considerable influence in the fashion world but also her active commitment to crucial causes such as sustainability and diversity.

Recognition Beyond Fashion

Donatella Versace’s fame is not limited to the fashion industry. She has also been honored for her philanthropic work and support for social causes.

In 2018, she was awarded the title of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters in France in recognition of her commitment to culture, art, and fashion.

Personal Life

Donatella Versace young…

Donatella Versace young and Donatella Versace now
Donatella Versace young and Donatella Versace now

Rumors and speculation surrounding Donatella Versace’s physical transformation have been circulating online for years. Millions of internet users wonder about Donatella Versace’s appearance when she was young, Donatella Versace before, and how old Donatella Versace is.

Although she is reticent about plastic surgery, changes in her appearance have fueled pointless controversies.

Beyond these controversies, we are interested in the woman herself.

Allegra, Daniel, and Paul…

She was married to Paul Beck between 1983 and 2000. He is the father of her two children, Allegra and Daniel. As a Calabrian mother, Donatella has always been very protective of them and has tried to shield them from the spotlight as much as possible, while supporting them in their life choices. She is very close to them and makes sure to spend time with her family despite her busy schedule.

Allegra, heir to the Versace empire

Born in 1986, Allegra Versace is the eldest of Donatella’s two children. She inherited 50% of the shares of the Versace House upon the death of her uncle Gianni. However, Allegra initially chose to follow her own path, studying Art History and contemporary dance before eventually returning to the family business.

She now holds a discreet but influential role in the management of the brand, advising her mother on strategic decisions and artistic directions.

Daniel, the discreet son

Donatella’s youngest son, Daniel Versace, was born in 1990. Very discreet, he has managed to stay out of the media sphere and even more so preserves his privacy than his sister. However, it is known that he has a very close relationship with his mother, who supports him in his passion for rock ‘n’ roll.

The legacy of Donatella Versace

Donatella Versace smiling in the back of a sedan
Donatella Versace smiling in the back of a sedan

The Versace clan, mainly composed of Donatella Versace and her family, is considered one of the wealthiest and most influential families in the fashion world.

Donatella Versace Net Worth

According to some sources, Donatella Versace’s personal fortune was estimated at around $400 million in 2021.

Stabilization after the death of Gianni Versace

At the time of Gianni Versace’s disappearance, the brand went through a period of turbulence and uncertainty. Donatella managed to stabilize the company by ensuring a smooth transition. Her first collection as artistic director in 1998 was a success, which allowed the company to maintain its position in the luxury fashion market.

Acquisition by Capri Holdings

In 2018, the Versace House was acquired by Capri Holdings, a luxury company that also owns the brands Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo. This acquisition raised questions about Donatella Versace’s future within the company. However, she confirmed that she would remain the artistic director of the brand and continue to oversee fashion collections and advertising campaigns.

Thanks to her efforts to modernize the brand, diversify its offerings, and adapt to current trends, Donatella has succeeded in ensuring the sustainability and success of the company in the luxury fashion market.

Donatella Versace: a committed woman

Donatella Versace during an interview at Vogue in 2014
Donatella Versace during an interview at Vogue in 2014

Donatella, a woman of conviction, is also known for her philanthropic commitments. She actively supports several causes, including cancer research, the fight against HIV/AIDS, and the promotion of education for disadvantaged children.

She fervently defends the rights of the LGBTQ+ community and regularly participates in charitable events aimed at improving their well-being and representation.

By using her fame and position in the fashion industry, Donatella Versace contributes significantly to raising awareness and support for these important causes.

The sustainability of the Versace legacy

In conclusion, Donatella Versace is an essential figure in the international fashion scene. An exceptional woman, she has transformed the grief of losing her brother into strength to perpetuate and grow the legacy of the Versace House.

Inspired by her mother and brother, she has developed a unique and bold style that still endures a quarter of a century later.

Despite the trials and challenges, Donatella has managed to preserve the DNA of the brand and infuse her own vision through increasingly innovative and glamorous creations.

Today, her name is synonymous with success, resilience, and determination, making her a true fashion icon.

Instagram of Donatella Versace