“A kamikaze blonde in black leather and stilettos, more like a character from ‘Blade Runner’ than the stately doyenne of a Milanese fashion house.”
That’s how one of Donatella’s friends describes her.
June 10, PRAGUE—Donatella Versace has kept Versace empire at the force-front of fashion ever since the death of her brother Gianni Versace in 1997. Donatella was Gianni’s muse and adviser since 1970’s and unofficial leader of Versace empire since her brother got sick with cancer. Her own label Versus was given by her brother, while he was the main designer of the Versace fashion house. Donatella developed Versace into a complete lifestyle brand designing home furnishing, accessories and even hotels.
Born in Italy in 1955, Donatella Versace was the smallest and most spoiled kid in the family. She was growing up with a dressmaker mother and a budding designer brother Gianni. Both of them had a huge influence on her career. She went to work for her brother in the 1970’s, working as a muse and adviser. After she became a designer
for Versace line Versus she learned a lot about the fashion industry and business that prepared her for the bigger industry.
After her brother was murdered in 1997, she became artistic director of the Versace Group. The death of her brother was one of the hardest parts of her life. “The thing that killed me the most was to show this strong façade in front of everybody because I wasn’t strong at all. I was going home and crying tears. I also had my children to be strong for… Why Uncle Gianni die? Why? Why? Why? Why? It was a lot. It was a lot of things together, my marriage falling apart at the same time.I have been living with a lot of pain in my life: private problems, family problems. I found an easy way to numb everything… drugs.” Despite the fact that she went to rehab because of her drug addiction, and several other scandals, Donatella is still one of the most powerful figures in the fashion industry. After many years of being criticized for sticking to her brother’s style, she transformed Versace and made it her own.
Written by Nino Aphakidze.