Versace, Donatella

(1955- )
   Born in Reggio di Calabria, Italy, she is one of one of four children. Her father was a businessman to Italian aristocrats and her mother was a seamstress. She attended Florence University and studied languages but soon assumed the role of public relations manager, muse, and collaborator with her brother, Gianni Versace, when he opened his clothing business in 1978. She designed the Versus line and, in 1993, she launched Versace Young, a line of designer childrenswear clothing. Upon her brother's death in 1997, Donatella went on to continue the tradition of designing for the modern, sexy woman and maintained a celebrity following. She is credited with being the first designer to use celebrities as the "face" of Versace, including Madonna, Demi Moore, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and, in 2006, Halle Berry. Today the Versace empire consists of luxury men's, women's, and children's clothing, accessories, perfumes, cosmetics, home furnishings, and a luxury hotel chain. Chief designer Donatella and brother Santo, operating as the company's CEO, expanded the Versace empire to include the Palazzo Versace Resort in Gold Coast, Australia, an ultra-luxurious resort, with plans to expand to a new location in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2008. Versace brands include Atelier Versace (haute couture), Gianni Versace Couture (ready-to-wear), Versus Versace, Versace Jeans Couture, Versace Ceramics Designs, Versace Sport, Versace Collection, Versace Precious Items, Versace Intensive, and Versace Young. In 2004, Allegra Versace, the daughter of Donatella and ex-husband Paul Beck, inherited $700 million from Gianni Versace's estate and today is the majority shareholder in the company. There are approximately 240 boutiques, 150 in-store shops in major department stores and duty-free shops, and selective multi-brand boutiques in 60 countries.
   See also Versace, Gianni.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. .

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