Italian fashion designer and businesswoman Donatella Versace has been in charge of the Versace empire as the artistic director since the death of her brother Gianni. The Italian designer has overseen the overall growth of the luxury brand Versace alongside numerous expansion plans into different ventures such as Furnishings, hotels, accessories, etc. She was able to create a luxury lifestyle brand which was reportedly making at least $800,000 annually since 2018.

Today, the brand is currently rebranded as Capri Holdings when Michael Kors Holdings bought the company in 2018. Although the brand has been rebranded and currently owned by Michael Kors Holdings, Donatella Versace remains as the artistic director and vice president of the board and she still oversees the overall vision of the house from the catwalk collections up to the brand image when it comes to the global growth as well as the future of the brand in terms of digital world.

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Donatella’s Entry In The Fashion World

Donatella Versace was born on May 2, 1955 in Reggio di Calabria, Italy, She is the youngest of four children and their father used to be a salesman while her mother used to be a dressmaker. She had to go through difficult times during her childhood when her older sister Tina died at the age of twelve due to improperly treated tetanus infection which devastated the young Donatella. During the mid 1970s, Donatello decided to attend a school in Florence, Italy to study literature and languages which meant that she had to commute every weekend to Milan so that she could spend some time with her family. At an early age, she started developing her trademark look as she dyed her hair blonde and used a dark eyeliner.

When she finished studying, she planned to work for her brother who works at the public relations department and she did however she was more valuable to him as a muse and critic. With the closeness of her brother’s company to some other companies, she was able to enter the world of fashion. In 1989, Gianni decided to launch a fragrance which was named Blonde to dedicate to Donatella. He also gave Donatella a label of her own called Versus in 1989 which was geared towards the younger audiences. In the media, she is known as the muse of her brother and during the 1990s , the rivalry between her brand Versace and other luxury brand Armani, she brought the louche glamour in order characterized the brand’s appeal.

Rising To The Occasion After Gianni’s Death

Gianni was unfortunately murdered on July 15, 1997 while he was outside the newly re-constructed Casa Casuarina in Miami, Florida. The aftermath of the highly publicized murder, a wide manhunt was conducted with most of the Versace family moving temporarily to some secluded private resort in the area of Caribbean. Shortly after the death of Gianni, Donatella was promoted as the company’s artistic director of the Versace Group, the estate of Gianna was then inherited by their family with 30% going to their brother Santo, 20% going to Donatella and the remaining 50% went to Donatella’s daughter Allegra which she only got when she turned 18.

Life must go on for the family of Donatella, and just a year and three days after her brother’s death, she has mounted her first ever haute couture show at the Hôtel Ritz Paris for Versace Atelier. She built a stunning runway on top of the hotel’s swimming pool which has been done by her brother almost every season but this time she used a sheer glass. She was finally promoted as the head of the company however her first year of managing the company was a little unstable but she has defined the brand as a new feminist proposition signifying their brand.

As the head the of the company, Donatella was able to design some advertising campaigns for Versace which included big name celebrities like Madonna, Cristina Aguilera, Demi Moore, Courtney Love, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj and a lot more. She even designed a love Green Versace dress called Jungle Dress for Jennifer Lopez which the singer used for the 42nd Grammy Awards in 2000.

Maintaining Versace’s Prestige

When Versace designed the dress for Jennifer Lopez, the brand gained popularity. Since then, the brand has gained the so much prestige thanks to the skills and talent of Donatella. With the established popularity and influence of Versace in the fashion world, Donatella decided to sell about 20% stake in their company Versace to the equity firm Blackstone, this move has increased the value of the Versace company to roughly $1.4 billion overall with Allegra’s stake worth $700 million and Donatella’s stake worth $280,000.

In 2018, Donatella once again mediated a sale of their firm but this time, she decided to sell the entire firm to the Michael Kors Holdings. On September 25, 2018, Michael Kors company has announced that they were able to struck a deal with Versace to acquire the entire company for $2.2 billion. This move has made Donatella around $440,000 after selling her 20% stake in the company. Currently, the Versace family still owns about $176 million worth of group stock. The buyout agreement has state that Donatella will remain the company’s chairman and chief executive officer. This is a win-win trade for the two companies as Donatella can still run the company and Michael Kors Holdings getting revenue from the brand every year. It was estimated that the annual revenue for Versace is roughly around $800,000.

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