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Donatella Versace

Donatella Versace

Donatella born in May 1955 in the Italian city of Reggio Calabria and is the youngest of four children in her family and she grew up with two major fashion influences. In the mid-1970s, Donatella followed her older brother, Giovanni to pursue knitwear design in Florence.

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Donatella Versace became the designer for the company’s Versus line in the 1980s. After her brother was murdered, in 1997, she became creative director of the Versace Group.

In early life Donatella and Gianni learned about designing from their mother. Versace began developing her trademark look as a teenager—dyeing her hair platinum blonde and using copious amounts of dark eyeliner. She was remarkably close to her older brother, Gianni, who would take her out with him at night and make outfits for her to wear. Donatella attended university in Florence for a time, but she eventually reunited with Gianni to support his clothing business.

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When Gianni Versace started his own fashion company in Milan in 1978, Donatella was right there by his side. Their brother, Santo, was also a part of the business. Gianni relied on Donatella for her advice about his designs, and she played an important role in orchestrating many Versace fashion shows and advertising campaigns. She helped bring some rock ‘n’ roll spirit and celebrity cache to the line through her friendships with Madonna and Elizabeth Hurley.

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Personal Life

Versace married former model Paul Beck in 1986. The couple had two children together, Allegra and Daniel, before separating. Known for her wild partying lifestyle, Versace battled drug addiction after her brother’s death. After struggling with cocaine addiction for many years, Versace sought treatment in 2004.

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