|Gianni Versace, Founder
Santo Versace, Chairman & President
Jonathan Akeroyd, Director & CEO
Donatella Versace, Artistic Director
Number of employees
Gianni Versace S.p.A. (Italian pronunciation: [ˈdʒanni verˈsaːtʃe]), usually referred to as Versace, is an Italian luxury fashion company and trade name founded by Gianni Versace in 1978. The main collection of the brand is Versace, which produces upmarket Italian-made ready-to-wear and leather accessories, while other diffusion lines are Versace Collection (mainly in the US), Versus Versace and Versace Jeans. The Versace logo is the head of Medusa, a Greek mythological figure. The logo came from the floor of ruins in Rome that the Versace siblings played in as children. Gianni Versace chose Medusa as the logo because she made people fall in love with her and they had no way back. He hoped his company would have the same effect on people. The Versace brand is known for having flashy prints and bright colors.
In 1972, Gianni Versace designed his first collections for Callaghan, Genny, and Complice. In 1978, the company launched under the name "Gianni Versace Donna." The first Versace boutique was opened in Milan's Via della Spiga in 1978. Versace was one of the few independent designers who was in control of everything about the brand, from designing to retailing. In 1982, the company expanded into the accessory, jewelry, home furnishing, and china industries. In 1993, Donatella Versace created the "Young Versace" line as well as "Versus." 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".
Versace was often described as the "Rock n' Roll designer" because they designed for many famous clients, including Elton John, Michael Jackson, and Shenki Versace. Versace designed the stage costumes and album cover costumes for Elton John in 1992. Versace has also designed clothing for the Princess of Wales and Princess Caroline of Monaco. The Versace company is known for using the same models in their ads as they do on the runway.
After the murder 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 1994 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 reorganise 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 2006, Gianni Versace S.p.A. entered into a partnership with Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. to produce the Lamborghini Murciélago LP640 VERSACE. The car had a Versace white satin interior with the Versace logo embroidered into the seats. The car was available in black and white. There were only ten units produced. The car was sold with a complementary luggage set, luxury driving shoes, and driving gloves.
The Versace company teamed up with AgustaWestland in 2008 to create the AgustaWestland AW109 Grand Versace VIP luxury helicopter. The helicopter includes Versace leather interior and a design on the outside.
Versace partnered with the Mind Group firm in China in 2015. The two companies designed luxury residence towers called the "Versace Residencies." The goal of the creators were to combine Versace's luxury home elements with elements of traditional Chinese culture. This same year, Versace partnered with the ABIL Group in India to develop another residential project. These luxury homes are located in South Mumbai.
Soheil Abedian, of the Sunland Group, approached Versace in 1997 and successfully proposed a luxury hotel built upon the Versace brand; the first Palazzo Versace opened on Australia's Gold Coast on 15 September 2000. The hotel was sold to a Chinese consortium in December 2012. The second Palazzo, the Palazzo Versace Dubai, was completed in December 2015 and is located in the Persian Gulf. A third Palazzo is under construction. The Palazzo Versace Macau was announced in 2013 and will be built in partnership with Macau's largest casino operator SJM Holdings. The Palazzo Versace hotels are the first fashion-branded hotels in the world and place an emphasis on beauty and luxury.