Donatella Versace

Donatella Versace
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Donatella Versace
Real name:
Donatella Francesca Versace
Birth date:
(69 y.o.)
Place of birth:
Reggio Calabria, Calabria, Italy
5'5 ft ()
101 lb (46 kg)
Birth Sign:
Chinese zodiac:

Photos: Donatella Versace

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Donatella Versace's Biography

Donatella Versace is a fashion icon and the designer of the fashion house Versace. She took over after the death of Gianni Versace, her brother and the founder of the brand that defines the concept of "lifestyle."

For over twenty years, she has delighted her fans with new collections, earning various awards and honors. The designer is friends with many celebrities, and Lady Gaga even dedicated a song to her titled "Donatella." Her actual net worth: $400 million.
 Donatella Versace
Donatella Versace

Childhood, Youth, Family

Donatella was born in the spring of 1955 to Antonio and Francesca Versace in the southern Italian city of Reggio Calabria. Her mother, a well-known seamstress, owned her own atelier and shop, while her father worked as a salesman.

They had four children – two boys and two girls, but the eldest, Tina, died at the age of twelve from tetanus.

Donatella spent her childhood with her brothers, Giovanni and Santo, who always looked after her. Later, she would say:
Gianni made me his closest friend when I was twelve. He made me cool leather miniskirts, took me to discos, and treated me like a woman. I loved the craziness and noticed the envious looks of my friends when we went to rock concerts late at night. It was the happiest time of my life. I felt grown up, but still had everything ahead of me. I thought my whole life would be like that.
At the same time, it was her brother who insisted that Donatella dye her hair blonde. She has kept that hair color ever since.

In the early seventies, Versace graduated from the University of Florence and moved to Milan to join Gianni, who had already founded the fashion house. Donatella claimed she could handle public relations, but knowing her abilities, her brother offered her the position of advertising director. Santo managed the financial side of the business, and their family business began to thrive.
Donatella Versace was a beauty in her youth
Donatella Versace was a beauty in her youth

Career in the Fashion World

In the 1980s, Donatella started managing the Versus youth clothing line, entrusted to her by her brother. His expectations were met: she excelled as a designer and brought bold new ideas.

She suggested that the clothing lines be showcased not only by professional models but also by celebrities. Versace invited Madonna, Halle Berry, and Demi Moore to the shows, which helped the brand's fame spread across Europe and America.

In 1995, under the Versace brand, Gianni released the perfume Blonde, dedicated to his sister. This was his farewell gift to Donatella: in 1997, a maniac named Andrew Cunanan murdered the couturier at his home in Miami. The killer took his own life when the police apprehended him.

Gianni Versace's last official collection was FW97. Donatella took the final bow for the SS00 season, amazed by her brother's will:
The will was crazy, but all creative people are crazy. Gianni worshipped my daughter and always called her 'my little princess,' but his will placed a huge burden on her. To become a headline hero at eleven... I wouldn't wish that on any child. By giving half of the Versace brand to my daughter, he made me responsible for the company until Allegra came of age. Without this trick in the will, I could have left the company after his death.
Donatella and her brother Santo received 20% and 30%, respectively. The designer admitted that after Gianni's death, she felt like the whole world was watching her, with 99% of people expecting her to fail. Confident and brilliant in public, she would come home and cry all evening, not fully realizing that her brother was gone and that she could only rely on herself. She confessed:
I was comfortable working in Gianni's shadow. I did a lot, but all the public attention went to him – and the criticism too. That suited me perfectly... After his death, I realized that everything now depended on me... I asked myself: will I ruin everything Gianni built?
But by pulling herself together, Donatella not only continued the family business but also increased the brand's success and significance in the fashion industry. She constantly sought something new, creating collections with more feminine outfits while maintaining Versace's recognizable style: brightness, sexuality, and glamour. At the same time, Versace did everything she could to stop private investigator Frank Monte, obsessed with writing an exposé about the Versace family and extracting information from the investigation materials about Gianni, whose farewell ceremony was attended by Princess Diana, famous designers, and celebrities. The designer's sister continued to work, astonishing fans with new masterpieces. Among them was the very daring "jungle dress" or "green Versace dress," worn by Jennifer Lopez on the red carpet at the 42nd Grammy Awards (2000).
Donatella Versace on JLo's Dress, American Politics and Being Compared to Gianni
Later, Donatella admitted that this dress was a turning point in her career (just as the black safety-pin dress on Elizabeth Hurley was for Gianni in the early '90s): after this, people stopped comparing her to her brother and began to see her as an independent creative force.

To support the brand's prestige, Versace created the luxury resort "Palazzo Versace" in Australia, followed by a lavish hotel in Dubai. Donatella and her team designed a custom furniture and bedding collection specifically for them.

Versace was invited to appear in various films about the fashion industry. She appeared in the comedy "Zoolander" with Ben Stiller and was mentioned in the dramedy "The Devil Wears Prada" with Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway.

In 2013, the biographical film "House of Versace" was released, with Donatella played by Gina Gershon, and in 2018, the second season of "American Crime Story" - "The Assassination of Gianni Versace" was released, with the designer's sister portrayed by Penélope Cruz. With her SS18 collection show dedicated to Gianni, Donatella outdid herself: it turned out to be truly feminist and very bright. The finale was especially powerful: together with Versace, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Carla Bruni, and Helena Christensen took to the runway in sparkling evening dresses, proudly showcasing Versace's inimitable style.

Personal Life of Donatella Versace

Recalling her youth, the designer said that despite her short height and not being conventionally beautiful, she never lacked admirers.

In 1983, Donatella married actor and model Paul Beck. They had two children – daughter Allegra (born 1986) and son Daniel (born 1989). Her married life with Beck lasted until 2000.

In 2004, the celebrity tried to settle her family life again and married model Manuel Dallori, but this time it lasted only a year. After that, Versace filed for divorce and did not marry again.
73 Questions With Donatella Versace
Donatella is not attached to one place; she lives, moving from country to country where she owns property.

At one point, she became too involved in creating a new self. Once she went under the plastic surgeon's knife, Donatella underwent a series of procedures: rhinoplasty, breast augmentation, lip surgery, laser skin resurfacing, zirconium teeth implants, and Botox injections.
Donatella Versace Before and After Plastic Surgery
Donatella Versace Before and After Plastic Surgery
Much later, Versace admitted that it "took too long to realize that true beauty is on the inside." But by that time, she had already become the "heroine" of photo collections of failed plastic surgery victims, which tabloid readers love so much.

Donatella Versace Now

During Milan Fashion Week, Donatella presented the new Spring-Summer 2023 collection. She used her favorite technique – provocation.
Versace Spring-Summer 2023 Women’s
Gigi Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, Irina Shayk, and other designer favorites opened the show in black tones. The lingerie dresses with lace corsets, pantsuits, jeans, and shirts—all in black, purple, and fuchsia shades—aim to create daring yet glamorously chic looks. Paris Hilton closed the show.

Shortly before this event, Donatella shared with journalists how the creation of Britney Spears' wedding dress went. She stated that it was an exciting process, carried out in a relaxed atmosphere of fun and pleasant emotions. The singer and her fiancé Sam Asghari invited Versace to the wedding, and the celebrity was among the most honored guests.

Interesting Facts

  • Most fans of Donatella Versace believe she started running the company only after her brother's tragic death. In fact, a few years before Gianni Versace's death, doctors diagnosed him with a serious illness: inner ear cancer. The disease's progression made the couturier a recluse for almost two years. Later, Donatella admitted that during his treatment and surgery, she did all the work, bringing sketches to her brother at home for approval.
  • Versace believes that masculine models, like Paul Sculfor, Cameron Diaz's ex-boyfriend, sell men's clothing better. The designer is only concerned about the influence of fashionable music on the fashion industry:
    The music industry greatly influences how people want to see models. If you look at the 1990s, when Nirvana and Oasis dominated music, very skinny male models were in fashion. Even now, show business is full of metrosexuals. But this drives many people away from the fashion market. I want the image that will truly sell men's clothing.
  • Donatella Versace can surprise not only the public but also her competitors. Once, Givenchy's creative director Riccardo Tisci dared to call Donatella and offered her to be the face of his new campaign. When the designer agreed, he was genuinely surprised, and Versace said working with Riccardo was pure pleasure. "There should be no competition when it comes to common issues," she believes.
  • Many of Donatella's admirers note that she has another gift – discovering new talents. She invited then-unknown Christopher Kane (now co-owner of his own brand), Jonathan Anderson (now creative director of Loewe and owner of his company), and Anthony Vaccarello (now creative director of Saint Laurent) to collaborate. Versace states:
    I really enjoy communicating with young talented people: they inspire me. I never envy someone who is more gifted than I am or generates ideas faster. I am in a creative dialogue with everyone who interests me. All these guys are very dear to me. This is a new generation that speaks a new fashion language. In this business, you must always continue exploring, constantly searching for something new and fresh. You can't get stuck in a moment, even if it's a moment of your success. You need to fuel creativity by constantly setting yourself challenging tasks.