Versace is not only a famed brand, it’s a person. And Versace isn’t just a famous person, it’s also a high fashion brand. As much a symbol of Versace as the Medusa head and Greek Key, Donatella Versace reigns over a fashion empire that includes, watches, shoes, clothing and even hotels. She is fully in control behind the scenes as Creative Director and way out in front with her high profile appearances and famous friends.
Founder of the company, Donatella’s brother Gianni Versace, launched his eponymous company in Florence with a ready-to-wear collection in 1978. Gianni wasn’t afraid to present his flamboyant style and creativity on the runway, and he was the first to use unconventional materials like aluminum, rubber and leather in his ensembles. He didn’t just re-imagine clothing, he redefined the fashion industry, traveling with an entourage and creating the million dollar supermodel strutting down the catwalk.
Gianni Versace’s Secret Weapon
From the beginning, Gianni worked with his brother Santo and sister Donatella by his side. Donatella had planned to work in PR but Gianni found she was an invaluable inspirational spirit. She was at his side as an unflinching critic and muse. In the 1980’s Gianni launched Blonde, a perfume dedicated to Donatella. Versace creations were such a success that the public wanted a piece of the glamour and daring that defined Versace. Soon before his untimely death, Gianni gave Donatella a challenging gift. He created the fusion line Versus for her to develop. The rock-n-roll soul of Versace, according to Donatella, Versus celebrates a more youthful and fashion forward customer — and also has a more accessible price tag.
The fashion world may have hesitated, wondering if the Versace brand would have continued success without Gianni’s original designs and colorful personality at the helm. It was now Donatella’s turn to step out from behind the creative curtain and take center stage. Would the company collapse after its founder and namesake left, like so many do, or would Donatella keep the company relevant?
Barely a year after her brother’s death, Donatella came out charging in 1998 with her own couture show for Versace Atelier at the Hôtel Ritz Paris building a glass runway over the hotel’s swimming pool. The show was a tremendous success. Donatella was up to the job. It might even be said that she took and is taking Versace to heights Gianni couldn’t have even himself imagined.
Donatella’s Reign of the Realm
Donatella has not only kept Versace relevant, she’s turned it into an empire with many pillars of product and stand-alone boutiques worldwide in the most glamorous cities.
Donatella arguably has just as big a personality and outspoken manner as her brother but in her own style. She calls people such as Sir Elton John, Lady Gaga, Kate Moss, Beyoncé and even England’s heir apparent, Prince Charles, as friends. Always where the lights are shining brightest, that’s where Donatella can be found gallivanting with “people of the moment” at the most exclusive events and parties. Through her relationships and strategic appearances, she has actually ended up being a wizard at PR for Versace too!
|Lady Gaga, Donatella, Sir Elton John and David Furnish at the
Elton John AIDS Foundation Viewing Party On March 2014
Donatella may be a force of nature; her personality will make a company not only grow but thrive. Donatella successfully took over where Gianni left off expressing just as much creativity and daring and turning the company into a multi, multi million-dollar commodity. She’s proven she’s got the designing chops that match and expand the company’s DNA.
Versace designs are the choice of many celebs. Jennifer Lopez and Drake, who both wrote songs about Versace, obviously wear Versace. Before becoming officially aligned with the brand, Lady Gaga wore its clothing and also wrote a song entitled “Donatella”. For her marriage to longtime companion Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie had Donatella design her wedding gown. In addition to overseeing the traditional pillars, Donatella also created one of her own: the real life pop superhero Kuba Ka, Polish performer, actor, model and musician.
Let’s Get Personal
Even as a girl, Donatella did things differently. As a teenager she went blonde and used heavy black eyeliner, which are now her trademark. While most don’t think she has a natural look, Donatella says that it takes a lot of work to maintain her appearance, such as using creams and tending to her hair and skin and has admitted to using botox on occasion.
Not many people are aware that Donatella has a great sense of humor. She loves to laugh and doesn’t mind laughing at herself. For example, on her appearance on The View, the hosts showed a Saturday Night Live skit of Maya Rudolph doing an impression of Donatella. Not only did Donatella get a kick out of it but she also had some tips for Rudolph on how to improve her depiction.
It’s obvious Donatella is a wealthy woman from the commanding success of Versace. And yet, she gives back to the community by doing charity work. She was recognized in 2010 with a nomination for the Do Something With Style Award from the VH1 Do Something Awards for her work providing art supplies to children and creating a tote bag, whose proceeds will go to Starlight and the ONE Foundations. She’s also a patron of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
|Donatella With Children From the
Starlight Children’s Foundation
|Donatella With Her Children
and Ex-Husband Paul Beck
Donatella may be a powerful businesswoman, but she’s also a mom. She has two children with ex-husband Paul Beck, an American model: daughter Allegra and son Daniel.
About Versace Timepieces
Versace has long been known as a leader in the world of glamour and fashion. The evolution of the Versace style has demonstrated a perfect balance between the classical and modern. In every Versace watch creation is a commitment to the finest quality and a reflection of a long manufacturing tradition. This is demonstrated by the Greek key and Medusa logo, unmistakable design details that confer a distinctive signature and represent a definitive expression of the glamorous style of the Maison. The Italian style of the watches combined with the “Swiss Made” precision and innovation are parts of what makes the watches what they are.
Today the Versace brand is widely recognized as a leader in the world of luxury and renowned for its classic elegance. Timepiece collections range from $795 to $22,000 retail.