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Donatella Versace, was born May 2, 1955 in the Italian town of Reggio di Calabria. Like her famous brother, Gianni Versace, the founder of the high-end Versace clothing company, she is an affluent, high-end fashion designer. Her current title is Vice-President of the Versace Group and Chief Designer of the fashion line as well as holding a great amount of stock, totaling 20% of the entire stock market assets of Versace. Her brother, Santo, owns 35%.

Early Life and Fashion Debut

The youngest of four children in her family, her father being a businessman to the Italian Aristocracy, she studied languages at Florence University in Italy after an early life filled with parties and fun alongside her brother, Gianni. Her debut in the Versace company started as being in its public relations department, but her influence and her almost natural design knowledge went much deeper, as credit began shifting her way.

The Growing Versace Name

Donatella is actually credited and known as the figure who began to use notable models and celebrities to broadcast her clothing into the world on the catwalk. Another member of the growing Versace success was Santo Versace S.p. A., Donatella's brother, who is also a fashion designer and the owner of Finanziaria Versace, an upcoming Versace branch. Donatella soon proved to be the public relations giant of the Versace label and spread its name throughout Europe and the United States. Donatella chose to place some of her good friends, Madonna and Demi Moore, in high esteem in the Versace advertising sector, making them and other A-List celebrities the cover and look of Versace, a very business-oriented move. Donatella is also the Creator and Chief Designer of Versace Young, a fashion line for children launched in 1993.

Tragedy in Miami

On July 15, 1997, outside of the re-constructed Versace Mansion, also known as Casa Casaurina, in Miami, Florida, Gianni Versace was shot to death by Andrew Cunanan, a suspected serial-killer who committed suicide before apprehension was possible. The perspectives on the motive are broad and unsure, unlike the effect the assassination had on the fashion world, the death of an icon. Donatella was sent into complete sorrow and temporarily moved the family to a secluded, private resort in the Caribbean. Consequently, the Spring-Summer '98 Collection was cancelled as were the indirect operations of the company. The Official Funeral of Gianni Versace was held at the Roman Catholic Milan Cathedral in Milan, Italy, where over 2,000 mourners attended a traditional service, which was originally highly controversial. Notable guests in attendance were Princess Diana Spencer, Sir Elton John, Naomi Campbell, Giorgio Armani, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, Sting, Luciano Pavarotti, Carla Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld and many other famous fashion designers. Elton John and Sting sang a setting of Psalm 23, "The Lord is My Shepherd", while many famous celebrities and fashion icons cried in sorrow. The service was not actually a funeral, as the Versace family is Roman Catholic, and in that rite a funeral can only be taken place before cremation. The memorial service attracted international attention and front pages on leading newspapers and magazines throughout the World.

Promotion and Success

After the temporary move to the private, Caribbean resort, Donatella quickly jump-started her role in the Versace Group and now holds the title of Chief Designer. The endeavors of the company, with the guidance and praise of Donatella, have created a grand and "ultra"-luxurious Palazzo Versace Resort in Gold Coast, Australia. A symbol of the Versace style, The World's Tallest Hotel, the Burj al-Arab in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) boasts a broad collection of Versace furniture and beddings in its expensive and lavish rooms. The venture of only having Versace products in another hotel was not something the Versace Group or Donatella were planning on allowing, as the Palazzo Versace Dubai is to be built within the coming years, expected to be Dubai's most extravagant hotel, it will also be the second Palazzo Versace luxury hotel ever built. Today Donatella Versace is the Vice-President of the Board of Directors and is the Creative Director of the Versace Group worldwide, responsible for the company's creative choices, trends in the fashion line, communications, and expansion (hotels, boutiques, etc.) In October of 2002, Gianni and Donatella's most famously designed Versace clothing were displayed in a special exhibit of the historical Victoria and Albert Museum of London to be honored for extraordinary fashion success and symbolism globally

Family and Residence

Donatella and her former husband, American model Paul Beck, have two children named Allegra (born June 30, 1986) and Daniel (born ca.1991). Donatella lives a private life, wherein she indulges in expensive townhomes and penthouses worldwide (eg. Manhattan, Milan) and always has the best suite at the Palazzo Versace Australia. Her deceased brother, Gianni Versace, had a large collection of homes worldwide that have since been sold, such as his Manhattan, New York double-wide townhome, placed on and off the market for $21,000,000+.

 

Heiress to the Throne

It was in 1997, while watching TV in her bedroom in between study, that she found the familiar face of her uncle, Gianni, on the news stations, he had been shot. Not only was Gianni an icon of the fashion industry, he was the highest figure in the Versace Group, leaving no one to rule the vast network of clothing lines and branches of his company. His Last Will and Testament stated Allegra Versace was to receive all inheritance and titles.

Allegra Versace, upon her eighteenth birthday, received the inheritance from her beloved uncle, Gianni, the staggering sum of $700 million. Even with extravagant weatlh and success, Allegra stays out of the spotlight, yet still attends the most exclusive parties and clubs of Milan whenever time permits.

"Only you understand how I express what I feel" --Gianni to Allegra

She was not only left an enormous wealth and heritage from her uncle, Allegra was given Gianni's villa on Lake Como, Italy and a large townhome in Manhattan's most affluent neighborhood. To this day she stands to inherit the company, as her brother, Daniel, inherited Gianni's vast rare artwork collection. While the Versace Group is not as well off financially as it was in its earlier stages, the Versace Group hopes a new face with new ideas will bring about a positive change.

Personfication

Donatella has been impersonated by individuals such as Maya Rudolph on Saturday Night Live. In 2005, she selected Madonna to be the British spokesperson for the line for a reported $5 million, much to the slight of Jerry Hall.

The above article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donatella_Versace  1/8/06

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