Gianni Versace S.p.A. usually referred to as Versace, is an Italian fashion company and trade name founded by Gianni Versace in 1978.
The first Versace boutique was opened in Milan’s Via della Spiga in 1978. In 1994, the brand gained widespread international coverage due to the “Black Versace dress of Elizabeth Hurley”, referred to at the time as “that dress”.
After the death of Gianni Versace in 1997 his sister Donatella Versace, formerly vice-president, took over as creative director and his older brother Santo Versace became CEO. Donatella’s daughter Allegra Versace was left a 50 percent stake in the company, which she assumed control of on her eighteenth birthday.
In 2000, the “green Versace dress” worn by Jennifer Lopez at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards gained a lot of media attention, being voted as the “fifth most iconic dress of all time” in 2008, with Hurley’s 2000 dress being voted first in a Daily Telegraph poll.
The company’s profits were in decline in the early 2000s; Fabio Massimo Cacciatori was hired as interim CEO to reorganize and restructure the Versace Group in 2003. Cacciatori resigned in December 2003 due to “disputes with the Versace family”. From 2004 Giancarlo di Risio, from IT Holding, was CEO of the group until his resignation in 2009 due to disagreements with Donatella. Since July 2009, Gian Giacomo Ferraris, previously of Jil Sander, has operated as CEO for the group.
In February 2014 The Blackstone Group purchased a 20 percent stake in Versace for €210 million.
As of August 2013, more than 80 boutiques operate worldwide; the first boutique outside of Italy was opened in Glasgow, Scotland in 1991.
After the death of Gianni Versace, his sister, Donatella Versace, took over his business and continued usage of the family’s trademark of using bright colors and designs. She was born in Reggio Calabria Italy, in 1959, being 13 years younger than Gianni. Brother and sister had a very close relationship and Gianni considered her his muse.
Versace is one of the world’s leading international fashion houses. Versace designs, markets and distributes luxury clothing, accessories, fragrances, makeup and home furnishings under the various brands of the Versace Group.
Versace’s Style Department employs a group of designers and stylists who work in teams specifically dedicated to each individual line. These teams operate under the close supervision and guidance of Creative Director, Donatella Versace.
Versace collections are distributed through a network of 240 exclusive boutiques, over 150 dedicated spaces in major department stores and duty-free areas, as well as a number of selective multi-brand boutiques in 60 countries.
Gianna Versace S.p.A. directly employs 1,500 people and provides indirect labor for an additional 5,000 worldwide.
With a broad international presence, the Versace Group had sales of 822 billion lire (424.5 million Euro) and net earnings of 18 billion lire (9.3 million Euro) in the 1999 fiscal year.
The brands of the Versace Group include: Gianni Versace Couture, Versus Versace, Versace Jeans Couture, Versace Ceramic Designs, Versace Collection, Versace Sport, Versace Intensive, Versace Precious Items, and Versace Young. It also operates a hotel, the Palazzo Versace.
Versace Precious Items is Versace S.p.A’s timepiece, jewellery and writing instrument sub-brand. Timepieces and jewellery are made in Switzerland, and writing instruments are made in France.