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Donatella Versace
Donatella Versace Time Shankbone 2010.jpg
Versace in 2010
Donatella Francesca Versace

(1955-05-02) 2 May 1955 (age 69)
  • Creative director
  • Fashion designer
  • Luxury businesswoman
Board member of Versace
Palazzo Versace Dubai
Elton John AIDS Foundation
Paul Beck
(m. 1983; div. 2000)
Manuel Dallori
(m. 2004; div. 2005)
Children 2, including Daniel and Allegra
Relatives Santo Versace (brother)
Gianni Versace (brother)
Vice president of Versace
In office
President Santo Versace
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by Jorge Saud
Chief executive officer of Versace
In office
Serving with Santo Versace and Jorge Saud
President Santo Versace
Preceded by Gianni Versace
Succeeded by Allegra Versace
Creative director of Versace
Assumed office
President Santo Versace
Preceded by Gianni Versace

Donatella Francesca Versace (Italian: [donaˈtɛlla franˈtʃeska verˈsaːtʃe]; born 2 May 1955), sometimes simply referred to mononymously as Donatella, is an Italian fashion designer, businesswoman, socialite, and model. She is the sister of Gianni Versace, founder of the luxury fashion company Versace, with whom she worked closely on the development of the brand and in particular its combining of Italian luxury with pop culture and celebrity.

Upon Gianni's death in 1997, she inherited a portion of the Versace brand and became its creative director. She is currently the brand's chief creative officer. Along with her brother Gianni, she is widely credited for the supermodel phenomenon of the 1990s by casting editorial models on the runway.

Early life and education

Donatella Versace was born in Reggio di Calabria, Italy, the youngest of four children; Santo, Gianni, and Tina. Her father, Antonio, helped run the family coal mining business, and her mother, Francesca, was a seamstress for a fashion company before setting up her own fashion boutique. Her older sister, Tina, died at the age of 12 from an improperly treated tetanus infection. Always close to her brother Gianni, Donatella was persuaded by him to dye her hair blonde at 11 years old in honor of the Italian singer Patty Pravo of whom he was a big fan.

In the mid-1970s, Donatella studied literature and languages in Florence. On the weekends she would commute to Milan to work with Gianni who was working at the Callaghan fashion label. Donatella's mother did not approve, wanting her to focus instead on her studies, and would check up on Donatella with surprise visits to Florence.


Donatella was only ever interested in a career in the fashion industry, stating; "I knew I was going to work in fashion; I really didn't think of nothing else." In 1976, Donatella and Santo joined their brother Gianni in Milan. The three travelled to the United States in 1977 on a three-week tour in search of press and overseas buyers in anticipation of starting the Versace brand.

The Versace brand was established in 1978, with Donatella employed as vice president, although she collaborated with Gianni across all projects, especially in styling, creating the brand image, and designing the brand's accessories, shoes, and handbags. In 1982, Gianni sent Donatella to an auction where she placed the winning bid on the palazzo at Via Gesù 12 in Milan which would become the Versace headquarters and showroom.

Donatella is widely considered to have been both a creative partner and muse to Gianni. In 1989, Gianni dedicated the new Blonde perfume to Donatella, and entrusted the Versus diffusion line to her – gifting her a yellow diamond ring to mark the occasion. During 1996 and early 1997, with Gianni Versace recovering from a cancer of the left ear, Donatella took over much of the decision-making for the Versace brand.

Versace has described her approach to design as being rooted in images, saying "I don't look at the clothes with my eyes, I look through images – a picture, or a video." She is often cited with developing the Versace look. Donatella worked with fashion photographer Richard Avedon on the Spring-Summer 1980 campaign shoot, his first for the brand, and would art direct Avedon on the Spring-Summer 1993 campaign.

Gianni 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. Her brother, Santo Versace, inherited 30% of Versace upon Gianni's death and her daughter, Allegra Versace, inherited 50%. Gianni Versace's book The Art of Being You, published posthumously in 1997, includes a dedication to Gianni from Donatella and Santo which reads "This book is a tribute to a great artist himself, to someone who lived with an incredible love for art, to a very special person who was always fascinated by art and artists and always supported them, our brother Gianni".

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. From October 2002 to January 2003, Gianni and Donatella's best known Versace clothing was displayed in a special exhibit of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Donatella has designed advertising campaigns for Versace that included Madonna, Courtney Love, Christina Aguilera, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Demi Moore, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and January Jones. She designed the Green Versace dress of Jennifer Lopez, also known as the "Jungle-Dress", which was worn by Lopez at the 42nd Grammy Awards in 2000. In 2015, she appeared in the AW15 ad campaign of its direct competitor Givenchy.

Donatella designed the Palazzo Versace Australia resort on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, which opened in September 2000, and played a major role in the design of the Palazzo Versace Dubai, the second Palazzo Versace hotel, which opened in November 2016. She also designed a Mini Cooper for the Life Ball. In September 2017, Donatella Versace set up a tribute show dedicated to her brother.

Versace and her former husband, American model Paul Beck have two children: daughter Allegra Versace Beck (born 30 June 1986), and son Daniel Versace Beck (born 1989). Her marriage with Paul Beck ended in 2000.

..... A heavy smoker, she quit in 2014.


  • 1996: De Beers Diamonds International Award for her design of a gold and diamond tiara, produced by Gianni Versace.
  • 2004: Bambi Award for Fashion
  • 2005: World Fashion Award as Designer of the Year, at the Women's World Awards
  • 2007: Honored along with Gianni Versace by The City of Beverly Hills and the Rodeo Drive Committee for their contributions to the fashion world with a Rodeo Drive Walk of Style Award.
  • 2008: FGI Superstar Award.
  • 2008: Honorary chairman of Fashion Fringe
  • 2009: Honorary chairman of Fashion Fringe for the second year running
  • 2010: Woman of the Year by Glamour
  • 2012: Speaker at the Oxford Union.
  • 2012, 2016: Fashion Designer of the Year by Glamour
  • 2017: Fashion Icon of the Year award by the British Fashion Council
  • 2018: First woman to be named as the Designer of the Year at the GQ Men of the Year Awards in the UK and in China.
  • 2018: International CFDA Award
  • 2018: Fashion Icon award at GQ Awards Berlin.


Donatella Versace has been involved in several charitable causes. In 1993, Donatella and Gianni Versace published the book South Beach Stories and donated all proceeds to ANLAIDS. She continues to be a patron of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Alongside supermodel Naomi Campbell, in 1998 Versace organized a benefit fashion show in support of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, raising thousands of dollars for the charity. In the same year, Versace staged a charity fashion show during the Fire & Ice Ball in California to raise funds for the Revlon/UCLA Women's Cancer Research Program. The ball raised $1.8million for the charity.

In 2008, Versace staged its first fashion show in China as part of a charity fund-raiser auction and dinner as part of a yearlong partnership in benefit of the Jet Li One Foundation to open children's centers for post-trauma and psychological relief in China's Sichuan province, following an earthquake in the region. As part of the collaboration, Donatella designed a Versace/One Foundation logo and limited-edition merchandise.

In 2010, Versace contributed £20,000 to the 20:20 Fashion Fund of the London fashion college, Central Saint Martins, with funds going towards new equipment for the college.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Donatella Versace para niños

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