Donatella Versace is an Italian fashion designer with a $400 million net worth. Gianni Versace’s younger sister Donatella gained ownership of his company, Versace, after his sad death in 1997. She worked as Versace’s CEO, chief creative officer, and artistic director, and was pivotal in 2018’s $2.12 billion sale of the brand to Michael Kors.
Versace designed the Palazzo Versace Australia resort as well as the Palazzo Versace Dubai resort, and in 2005 she designed a MINI Cooper Cabrio for the Life Ball charity event.
After Gianni’s assassination by a crazed fan in 1997, Donatella’s daughter Allegra gained a fifty percent stake in the Versace design enterprise. Donatella inherited 20% of the business, while her uncle Santo (Gianni’s brother) inherited 30%. Due to Allegra’s young age of eleven at the time of her uncle’s terrible murder, Donatella and Santo assumed authority.
Donatella Francesca Versace was born on May 2, 1955 in Reggio di Calabria, Italy as Donatella Francesca Versace. She grew up with her mother Francesca (a seamstress), her father Antonio (a businessman), and her three older siblings, Gianni, Santo, and Tina; Tina tragically died at the age of 12 from a tetanus infection.
Francesca taught Donatella and Gianni about fashion design, and Gianni insisted that Versace dye her hair blonde when she was 11 years old. Donatella enrolled at the University of Florence in 1973 with the intention of studying foreign languages and becoming a teacher. While attending college, she frequently travelled to Milan to assist Gianni with his clothes business.
Versace initially intended to work in the public relations department of Gianni’s company, but he admired her as a critic and muse, and when he launched Versace in 1978, he appointed Donatella Versace as Vice President. Gianni granted Donatella the fashion company Versus in the 1980s and created the perfume Blonde in her honour. Donatella was involved with coordinating Versace’s fashion shows and advertising campaigns.
When Gianni was diagnosed with cancer in the mid-1990s, Donatella got more active in the business, and after his murder in 1997, she became Versace’s head of design. Donatella Versace’s advertising campaigns have featured several celebrities, including Madonna, Demi Moore, Courtney Love, and Nicki Minaj. From October 2002 to January 2003, the “Versace at the V&A” exhibit at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum displayed Gianni and Donatella’s most well-known designs.
Jennifer Lopez’s low-cut silk chiffon dress from the 2000 Grammy Awards is Donatella’s most talked-about design; within 24 hours after the event, more than 640,000 photographs of the dress were downloaded from the Grammy website. Later that year, “South Park” creator Trey Parker attended the Academy Awards wearing a replica of the legendary outfit.
In popular culture, Donatella has been played by Maya Rudolph (“Saturday Night Live”), Gina Gershon (“House of Versace”), and Penelope Cruz (“American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace”), and Lady Gaga’s 2013 album “Artpop” included the song “Donatella,” which was written for her. Donatella Versace published “Versace” in 2016, which highlights her career and the history of the brand.
Blackstone acquired a 20 percent ownership in the company from Versace in 2014. The transaction placed Versace’s value at approximately $1.4 billion. Subsequently, Allegra’s 50% ownership was valued at approximately $700 million, while Donatella’s was valued at $280 million. Michael Kors Holdings announced an agreement to acquire Versace for $2.2 billion on September 25, 2018.
Donatella wed American model Paul Beck in 1983; the couple had children Allegra Versace in 1986 and Daniel Versace in 1989 before divorcing in 2000. In 2004, Versace wed Manuel Dallori, but they divorced the following year. Donatella was horrified after Gianni was murdered by Andrew Cunanan in July 1997, due to their close relationship. After the death of her beloved brother, she struggled with drug addiction and entered rehab in 2004.
Awards and Accolades
“Glamour” magazine honoured Versace Fashion Designer of the Year in 2012 and 2016 and Woman of the Year in 2010. She got the FGI Superstar Award in 2008 and the Fashion Icon of the Year award from the British Fashion Council in 2017.
In 2018, Donatella became the first woman to receive the Designer of the Year title at the “GQ” Men of the Year Awards in both the United Kingdom and China, as well as the Fashion Icon award at the “GQ” Awards in Berlin. In 2018, she also received the International Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America and The CNMI in Recognition for Sustainability Award from The Green Carpet Fashion Awards.
Donatella Versace acquired a 15,000-square-foot villa in Meina, Italy, known as Villa Mondadori, for around 5 million euros ($5.6 million) in 2019. The four-story residence with 50 rooms, including 20 bedrooms and 12 baths, overlooks Lake Maggiore.