Versace at the 2010 Time 100 Gala
Donatella Francesca Versace
2 May 1955
|Board member of||Versace|
Palazzo Versace Dubai
Elton John AIDS Foundation
(m. 1983; div. 2000)
(m. 2004; div. 2005)
|Relatives||Santo Versace (brother)|
Gianni Versace (brother)
|Vice president of Versace|
|Chief executive officer|
Serving with Santo Versace and Jorge Saud
|Creative director of Versace|
Donatella Francesca Versace (Italian: [dona't?lla fran't?eska ver'sa:t?e];[a] born 2 May 1955) is an Italian fashion designer and businesswoman. She is the current chief creative officer of Versace, a division of Capri Holdings. Versace was founded by her brother, Gianni Versace, and upon his death in 1997, Donatella inherited 20% of the company and became its chief executive officer. Versace was sold to Capri Holdings in 2018, although Donatella still remains involved.
Donatella Versace was born in Reggio di Calabria, Southern Italy, the youngest of four children. Her father, Antonio, was a salesman and her mother, Francesca, was a dressmaker. Her older sister, Tina, died at the age of 12 from an improperly treated tetanus infection. Her brother, Santo Versace, inherited 30% of Versace upon Gianni's death and her daughter, Allegra Versace, inherited 50%.
In the mid-1970s, Donatella followed her older brother, Gianni Versace, to pursue knitwear design in Florence, Italy. She had planned to work for her brother in the public relations department, but, according to her, was more valuable to him as a "muse and critic". Through her closeness to her brother's enterprises, she entered the fashion world. In the 1980s, Gianni launched a perfume dedicated to her, Blonde, and gave her her own label, Versus, which Gianni formerly ran for her until his death.
On 18 July 1998, one year and three days after Gianni's death, Donatella Versace mounted her first Haute couture show for the Versace Atelier at the Hôtel Ritz Paris. She built her runway over the hotel's swimming pool, as her brother had done every season, though this time using sheer glass. She now oversees the production of a dozen collections each year.
Donatella has designed advertising campaigns for Versace that included Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Courtney Love, Christina Aguilera, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Demi Moore, Nicki Minaj, and Lady Gaga and made Beyoncé and January Jones the personae and images of Versace.
In 2010, Donatella's charity work, which included providing art supplies to children and creating a tote bag with proceeds going to charity, earned her a Do Something With Style Award nomination from the VH1 Do Something Awards.
In 2017, Donatella was awarded the Fashion Icon of the Year award at the British Fashion Council's The Fashion Awards. She became the first woman to be named as the Designer of the Year at the 2018 GQ Men of the Year Awards in the UK and in China. The same year, she received the International CFDA Award and was honored at The Green Carpet Fashion Awards for her work for sustainability. In November 2018 Donatella received the Fashion Icon award at GQ Awards Berlin.
Versace and her former husband, American model Paul Beck have two children: daughter Allegra Versace Beck (born 30 June 1986), and son Daniel Versace (born 1989). Cathy Horyn describes visiting their Milan apartment in 1996: "It was a lavish place, the living room done in Versace prints, but it was also a beautiful and feminine home." Donatella was at the time into drugs and a heavy smoker.
Her brother Gianni Versace was murdered on 15 July 1997, outside the re-constructed Casa Casuarina, also known as Versace Mansion, in Miami, Florida. In the aftermath of the highly publicized crime and manhunt, most of the Versace family, including Donatella, moved temporarily to a secluded private resort in the Caribbean.
Versace has made cameo appearances in many films relating to fashion and its industry, such as Zoolander. In other films, including the 2006 hit The Devil Wears Prada, her name is mentioned sporadically.
At the 42nd Grammy Awards (2000), Jennifer Lopez wore the Green Jungle Dress which became an international point of attention, being highly publicised in the media. It was designed by Donatella herself and Lopez has the original dress currently with her at her estate. The dress worn by Lopez remains the reason for the creation of Google Images, and is known to have been downloaded over 600,000 times within 24 hours of the Grammy's night. In 2019, Lopez wore the dress for the first time since 2001 for the Versace Milan Fashion Show.
In the ABC series Ugly Betty, a fictional character called "Fabia", played by actress Gina Gershon, is a parody of Donatella. Gershon also played Versace as the lead role in the Lifetime television movie House of Versace, released in 2013.
In 1999, director William Friedkin considered Angelina Jolie to portray Donatella, in a small role, in a film which never materialized entitled The Man Who Killed Versace written by Frederic Raphael.
Lady Gaga wrote the song "Donatella" from her 2013 album Artpop for her. The plot of season 2 of the television series American Crime Story recounts the murder of Donatella's brother, Gianni Versace. She is portrayed by Penélope Cruz.