Donatella Versace

Donatella Versace
Photo by Rahi Rezvani

Donatella Versace is the artistic director and co-owner of Versace, one of the world’s leading luxury fashion brands.

Ms. Versace was born in Reggio Calabria in southern Italy, the younger sister to Gianni and Santo. Gianni founded Versace in 1978, and Donatella began assisting him while studying for a degree in languages at the University of Florence. She never looked back. At her brother’s side for every collection, she supervised the legendary campaigns by photographers such as Bruce Weber, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, and Helmut Newton. In 1994 she became head designer of Versus, the rebellious heart of Versace.

Following the death of Gianni in 1997, Donatella became artistic director of Versace. Since then, she has defined the company for a new century, and a new generation. Always hungry for what’s new, she mixes her deep understanding of pop culture with her intuition about how people want to dress right now, and in the future.

Versace today spreads far beyond the catwalk—it’s a lifestyle. Alongside the iconic Versace Home, Donatella also oversees fine jewelry, timepieces, fragrances, and the Versace interior design facility as well as the Palazzo Versace hotels. It is her deep respect for the traditions and heritage of her family brand, combined with her passion for the future, that is a constant theme of her work.

Following in the footsteps of Gianni, Donatella has been an ardent supporter of amfAR and the fight against AIDS. For the past two decades, Versace Group has contributed generously to the Foundation, in part through benefit events such as the amfAR New York Gala, Cinema Against AIDS, and amfAR Paris. She also supports the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and has contributed fashion shows and designs to benefit Life Ball (a major supporter of amfAR), the Red Ribbon Project for AIDS Orphans in Africa, and Anna Wintour and Diane von Furstenberg’s Born Free initiative to end mother-to-child HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa.

Following the 2008 earthquakes in the Sichuan province in China, the Versace Group collaborated with the One Foundation in China to establish two children’s centers that provided schooling, psychological therapy, and post trauma counseling for over 1,200 affected children. The next year, with the Whitney Museum, Ms. Versace launched the Art Unites project to help children supported by One Foundation as well as the Starlight Children’s Foundation in the U.S. In 2010 she was named Glamour magazine’s Woman of the Year, and was nominated for the annual awards presented by DoSomething.org, a nonprofit encouraging young people to engage in philanthropy.