Luxury Fashion Brand: History of Versace

Versace, or corporately known as Gianni Versace S.r.l, is a luxury fashion brand that was founded by Gianni Versace in 1978 in Italy. Today, Versace produces upmarket luxury Italian-made ready-to-wear clothes and leather apparel along with jeans, perfumes, and bags. Versace is known for having innovative designs by having iconic flashy prints along with bright colors. In 2018, Versace announced that they will stop using fur on their collection. That same year, Michael Kors acquired all the remaining shares in Gianni Versace S.r.l for 2.12 billion dollars. In this article, we are going to know more about Versace and how the brand got its status today.


In 1972, Gianni Versace made and designed his first collection for Callaghan, Genny, and Complice. After six years, Gianni decided to launch his own company and named it Gianni Versace Donna. Their first boutique was located in Milan’s Via della Spiga, and they are one of the few independent designers who had control over their brand. After four years, Versace decided to venture into the jewelry, accessory, and home furnishing, which proved to be successful. In 1993, Donatella, the sister of Gianni Versace, decided to launch the Young Versace line and Versus. After a year, the brand gained international attention because Elizabeth Hurley wore a black Versace dress that everyone called “that dress.”

Back in those days, Versace was hailed as the rock and roll designer because they have designed several clothes for celebrities such as Michael Jackson and Elton John. In fact, in 1992, Versace designed Elton John’s stage costumes and his album cover costumes. The brand also designed clothes for Princess Diana and Princess Caroline of Monaco. Ever since Versace is known for using the same models in their runway and in their advertisements.

After Gianni Versace was murdered in 1997, his sister Donatella, who is formerly the vice-president of the company, took over as its creative director and allowed her older brother, Santo Versace, to become the company’s CEO. Donatella’s daughter was left with a 50 percent stake in the company, something she gained control of when she turned eighteen years old.

In 2000, Jennifer Lopez caught the attention of the media when she wore the green Versace dress at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards. In fact, it was even voted as the iconic fifth dress of all time in 2008. However, it was also during that time when the company’s profits began to decline. That is why they decided to hire Fabio Massimo Cacciatori as the interim CEO to restructure and reorganize the company in 2003. However, later that year, Fabio resigned because of disputes with the Versace family. The following year, Giancarlo di Risio was assigned to be the company’s CEO. Still, he only lasted for five years because he apparently had disagreements with Donatella. in 2016, Versace Group decided to hire Mr. Jonathan Akeroyd to be the company’s CEO and as a member of their Board of Directors.

In 2014, an American multinational private equity named The Blackstone Group bought a 20 percent stake in Versace for a whopping €210 million. And as of 2016, Versace has over 1500 boutiques worldwide.

In 2018, Michael Kors announced that he offered a deal to buy Versace for 2 billion euros. During that same year, Versace announced that the Versace family shares, including the Blackstone shares, has been sold to the Group Michael Kors Limited. And the following year, Gianni Versace S.r.l joined Capri Holdings Limited, which formed a new global fashion luxury group together with Jimmy Choo and Michael Kors.  

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