|Full Name||Donatella Versace|
|Birthday||May 2, 1955|
Early Life in Italy
Donatella Versace was born on May 2, 1955 in the southern Italian city of Reggio di Calabria. She grew up in the small rural town of Reggio alongside her older brother Gianni and younger brother Santo. Donatella developed a deep passion for fashion and design from a very young age. As a young girl, she would assist Gianni in choosing fabrics and offer input on his sketches.
Donatella has described her childhood as "simple" but full of creativity and joy. Though the Versace family did not have much money, Donatella‘s mother was a dressmaker which exposed her to the world of fashion. Her seamstress aunt also served as an inspiration. Donatella spent hours sketching clothing designs and making tiny garments for her dolls. She dreamed of one day seeing her fashions on runways and red carpets.
Joining the House of Versace
In 1978, Donatella‘s brother Gianni launched his namesake fashion label and opened his first boutique in Milan. Donatella eagerly joined him and served as Gianni‘s muse and close confidante. Though she had no formal training, Donatella had an innate sense of style and rapidly absorbed the intricacies of high fashion design.
As Gianni himself said: "I don’t need to ask her. She feels, she understands, she knows. She doesn’t need to talk…Our telepathy is so perfect, we understand each other just looking in each other’s eyes."
Donatella assisted Gianni with all design details – selecting buttons, zippers and fabrics that perfectly embodied the sensual, vibrant Versace aesthetic. She quickly became integral to the brand‘s success.
Launching the Sensational Versus Line
In 1989, Gianni appointed Donatella as the designer of Versus – a new diffusion line aimed at younger consumers. This represented a huge show of faith in Donatella‘s creative vision. She relished the opportunity to make her mark.
Donatella‘s vibrant, provocative designs for Versus electrified runways and stores. She dared to combine leather, denim and animal prints in bold new ways. Sales exceeded expectations, and Versus opened Versace up to a whole new market. Elite supermodels like Naomi Campbell rocked Donatella‘s skin-tight minidresses both on and off the runway.
Her spectacular success with Versus proved that Donatella was far more than Gianni‘s little sister – she was a fashion prodigy in her own right.
Taking the Helm at Versace
In July 1997, tragedy struck when Gianni was tragically murdered outside his Miami mansion. Donatella was absolutely devastated by the loss of her beloved brother and best friend. After taking time to grieve, she pulled herself together and assumed the role of creative director at Versace.
Though wracked with doubt and anxiety, Donatella was determined to carry on Gianni‘s legacy. As she said, "I knew I had to keep the house alive for Gianni. He had trusted me with his heritage – I didn‘t want to let him down."
Her first couture collection in 1998 was a critical and commercial success, proving to doubters she had the talent and vision to chart a new course for Versace. She continued Gianni‘s tradition of opulence while taking the brand in a more modern, sensual direction.
Donatella‘s Signature Sexy Aesthetic
As creative director, Donatella took Versace to new heights by infusing the brand with her own signature sex appeal. She amped up the glamour with curve-hugging silhouettes, plunge necklines and slashed skirts. Her collections made strong women feel sexy and confident.
Donatella weaved in leather, latex and metal mesh in ways the fashion world had never seen. She blended bold prints, vibrant colors and contemporary details like zippers and safety pins to create her own distinctive aesthetic for Versace.
While respecting Versace‘s heritage, Donatella pushed boundaries and broke rules. She had an innate understanding of what made a woman feel powerful and beautiful. Her innovative designs attracted a new generation of "It" girls like Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner.
Like her late brother, Donatella forged close bonds with celebrities that took Versace‘s fame and prestige to new heights. Her shows were star-studded extravaganzas front rowed by supermodels like Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Gigi Hadid who she considered personal friends.
Donatella‘s fearless fashions were beloved by megastars. She famously designed the plunging green dress Jennifer Lopez wore to the 2000 Grammys, creating one of the most iconic red carpet looks ever. Other celebrity devotees included Lady Gaga, Madonna, Blake Lively and Zendaya, who have all gushed about Donatella‘s creativity and sisterly warmth.
She even crossed over from the runway to the recording studio, collaborating with pop stars on chart-topping hits. Donatella designed album art and looks for Lady Gaga and designed Versace-inspired outfits for musician Nicki Minaj.
Recent Success and Cultural Relevance
Under Donatella‘s leadership, Versace has grown into a global empire with over $800 million in annual revenue. She has led countless groundbreaking ventures, including Versace‘s triumphant collaboration with H&M in 2011 which sold out in days.
Donatella became the first designer honored as a Barbie doll in her likeness. She earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her cultural influence. Among countless accolades, in 2013 she won the prestigious Fashion Icon award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
Beyond her designs, Donatella is revered for modernizing the industry by embracing diversity on her runways. She regular features models of all ages, races and sizes to represent real beauty. Donatella uses her platform to support LGBTQ+ rights and HIV/AIDS research. She brings a bold, progressive perspective to the elite world of high fashion.
Her Own Iconic Brand
Nearly as famous as Donatella‘s designs is her own iconic look. With her platinum blonde hair, bronze skin and curvaceous figure, she embodies Italian glamour. Donatella always wears showstopping Versace pieces that flaunt her assets, pairing printed dresses with sky-high heels.
She is never seen without her statement oversized designer sunglasses that give her an air of mystery. Donatella layers piles of gold jewelry, often sporting multiple necklaces and hoop earrings that have inspired copycat trends. Her beauty look is flawless at all times with dramatic smokey eyeshadow, contouring and nude lips.
Donatella both designs and defines the Versace aesthetic. She IS Versace. While remaining down-to-earth and warm, she possesses a queenlike aura. Donatella lives by her own rules and exudes a confidence that millions around the world find inspiring.
A True Fashion Legend
Now in her 60s but still working as passionately as ever, Donatella‘s influence is sure to be felt for decades to come. She has made Versace synonymous with bold, provocative designs and A-list glamour.
Donatella has taken the fashion house founded by her beloved brother to ever greater heights, all while establishing her own unique aesthetic and voice. She represents the very best Italy has to offer in terms of style, innovation and joie de vivre.
No matter who eventually inherits her throne, Donatella‘s mark on fashion is indelible. She remains totally devoted to the house of Versace, saying "I will work for Versace until I die. I will never work for another brand – I will only work for Gianni." her legacy as one of the greatest designers of our time is set in stone.