Donatella Versace worked side by side with her brother, Gianni’s legacy. While the new season of American Crime Story will focus on her brother’s death, viewers will also see Donatella’s relationship with Gianni before his death and her impact on the company afterwards. Here, must-know facts about the designer before the premiere of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story on January 17 on FX., to help create one of the biggest fashion houses in the world. When her brother was murdered in 1997, Donatella was left to continue
Donatella was born on May 2, 1955, in Reggio di Calabria, Italy. Her mother was a dressmaker and Gianni would often work in her shop. Donatella was the youngest of four children. Her older sister, Tina, died of a tetanus infection when she was 12, leaving Donatella as the among her siblings. She and Gianni were nearly a decade in age apart and they would often go out and party together, , and Gianni how to dress when they went outIn fact, Donatella would often agree to Gianni’s wild ideas — in her autobiography, that she once stole money from her mother's wallet and her father's car keys so the her and her brother could see singer Patty Pravo together.
When Donatella was 11, Gianni told her to dye her hair blonde,in a book she co-wrote with Donatella called Versace. “Back then Gianni was so obsessed with [Patty] Pravo, an iron-straight-haired ‘blond,’ that he persuaded eleven-year-old Donatella to dye her own hair just like his heroine,” Sischy writes. “They both knew their mother would have a fit, but the adoring younger sister went along with her brother’s invention of her new blond look.”
While Gianni was trying to establish himself as a designer in Milan, Donatella was attending the University of Florence. , she was studying to become a teacher and her major was in foreign languages. During this time, she would often make the trip to Milan to help Gianni with his designs when he was working for other designers.
Before Gianni's death, Donatella was known as his inspiration Gianni and “muse” for his various lines, . She for one of Versace’s perfumes, Blonde. Gianni of his designs, though he preferred a more baroque style to Donatella's minimalism. "Donatella was a very powerful critic," one of Gianni’s friends, Guisi Ferre, . "And Gianni would yell, 'Donatella, you want to kill my spirit? My success?'" When the company was established in 1978, Donatella Gianni’sand took on the role of vice president. She in the early 1980s.
Not only did Donatella inspire her brother with his designs, but she also proved herself after helping him plan some of his lines. Eventually, Gianni established the Versus line and give it to Donatella as a gift, . The brand was launched in 1989 as a way to reach younger audiences, . Over the past few years, many celebrities have been seen wearing the line and some have even collaborated with Donatella on it, and, .
When Gianni was sick with cancer, Donatella took over the business while he was undergoing treatment. “The last two years of Gianni’s life,” , “I was going up into his apartment, showing him the work, getting the approval from him, but I ran the company because he wasn’t showing himself. It was like a year and a half I did everything.”
Lady Gaga and Versace have collaborated in many ways throughout her career, so it’s no surprise the pop superstar has a close bond with the head of the brand. Gaga was the first person to access the Versace archives, first doing so “Edge of Glory,” . Versace for Gaga’s Born This Way Tour. Gaga also in 2013. Gaga wrote a song for Donatella on her 2013 album Artpop, talking about her signature style and her work as a designer.“I'm blonde. I'm skinny. I'm rich and I'm a little bit of a bitch,” Gaga sings on the track. Donatella she loved the song. At last year’s Super Bowl, Lady Gaga and Donatella even helped the star get ready, as seen .
At the 42nd Grammy Awards in 2000, Jennifer Lopez was nominated for her : Best Dance Recording for “Waiting for Tonight.” While she ended up losing to Cher, Lopez left the award show as the most talked-about person of the night thanks to her unforgettable Versace dress. The dress was for Versace's Spring 2000 ready-to-wear collection. J. Lo wasn’t the only one who wore it, either. Spice Girl Geri Halliwell wore it . In 2015, Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt was the reason why Google Images was created, since so many people searched on Google to try to find a picture of the dress.
Donatella rocked the fashion world when after being then-creative director Riccardo Tisci asked her to model for the brand. "I approached my friend Donatella because she represents what a fashion icon is to me,” said Tisci . “We thought it was time to break boundaries and give a strong message about how to think [about] fashion." After the initial announcement, the two designers said they wanted to send a message of friendship in fashion. "Riccardo Tisci is extremely talented and above all my dear friend. We are family. I want to get rid of the old system, work together, support each other and make fashion a truly global community,” .
Donatella continues to honor her brother through the brand, more than 20 years after his death. Versace’s Spring 2018 collection is known as “The Versace Tribute Collection,” created by Donatella in honor of her brother. “This collection is a tribute to the life and works of Gianni. We pay homage to not only his artistic genius but to who he was as a man, and above all, as my brother,” Donatella . Five of Gianni’s original supermodels in honor of Gianni.
Despite much of the excitement surrounding the show, the Versace family and brand saying they had no involvement in its production and it should be viewed as “a piece of fiction.” The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story is based on the book by Vanity Fair columnist Maureen Orth. Series creator Ryan Murphy told reporters the day after Versace released its statement that Donatella sent her portrayer, Penelope Cruz, flowers. Cruz said her portrayal of the designer is a “personal homage,” , “all the love and respect that I feel for her is in the performance.” Cruz also said and was granted it. While Donatella may not be watching the show herself, it seems like there are no hard feelings between her and Cruz.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story premieres January 17 on FX.