To Top

In 1978, Gianni Versace founded his eponymous label, and the fashion world was never the same again. Some of the most iconic looks that have hit the red carpet and fashion catwalks were produced by the brand. Thanks to its styles that ooze sex appeal and its risqué silhouettes, everyone from musicians to supermodels can’t wait to get their hands on one of the label’s drool-worthy pieces.

If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the luxury brand, here are 15 fascinating facts you probably never knew about Versace.

1. It All Started With Gianni

After launching his label, Gianni worked diligently to make the label a household name. Although the brand made millions of dollars with Gianni at the helm, he was never able to see his dream fully come to fruition. In 1997, he was brutally killed by a man named Andrew Cunanan on the front steps of his Miami Beach home.

gianni versace

2. It Has Remained a Family Business

After his death, the brand remained a family business. Gianni’s sister, Donatella, was given the titles of creative director and vice president of the Versace Group. And their brother, Santo, received a 30% share of the brand through Gianni’s will.

gianni donatella versace

3. Unconventional Materials

In the brand’s earlier days, it was known for its colorful and spunky designs. Gianni also had a love for using alternative and unconventional materials in his collections. Can you imagine wearing a dress made out of aluminum, leather, and rubber? Yeah, neither can we. But Gianni was revolutionary when it came to creating and infusing design and art elements into his pieces.


4. The Face of the Brand

Gianni always considered his sister Donatella to be his muse, and she was even front and center in a few of the brand’s ads. In the 90s, she posed for famed photographer Richard Avedon for a series of pictures. She later spoke about the experience by saying, “Richard was difficult to work with, but he was a genius.”

donatella ad

5. The H&M Collection

Years before everyone was going crazy over the Balmain for H&M collection, Versace released its own capsule collection through the fast-fashion brand. The collection debuted in 2011 and included an assemblage of vibrantly colored dresses, jackets, and sports coats at budget-friendly prices.

versace hm

6. The Early Years

In 1978, Gianni opened his very first boutique in Milan, and even he couldn’t imagine just how successful his brand would be. Within the first 10 years, the Versace empire was worth more than $800 million thanks in part to its celebrity

versace milan

7. Multiple Labels

When Donatella became more involved with the label back in the 80s, Gianni decided to make her an integral part of the family business. In 1989, he gifted her with her very own brand: Versus Versace. The line consists of Donatella’s signature aesthetic, including little black dresses with revealing cutouts that leave little to the imagination.


8. Donatella’s an Icon in Her Own Right

When you think of the fashion industry, it’s impossible not to think of Donatella. She has managed to evolve into an icon in pop culture history, and a lot of that has to do with the way she looks. At the age of 11, she began honing in on her own unique style. She bleached her hair blonde, would wear dark eyeliner and smoky eyeshadow, and rock her all-black outfits like a boss. Whether people love or despise her appearance, Donatella has stayed true to her image throughout the years.

To cement her relevance in pop culture, Saturday Night Live spoofed the designer on their program. Comedienne Maya Rudolph played the fashion icon down to a T, and Donatella reportedly didn’t even mind. She even called Maya and gave her “some tips” on how to impersonate her.

Donatella and Maya were later side by side on stage at the VH1 Fashion Awards to perform a hilarious sketch routine. Check it out below!

donatella versace

9. Works of Art

It’s no secret that many of the brand’s most coveted designs have hints of art and architectural elements. This is the main reason why the brand has caught the eyes of many museums, including London’s Royal College of Art, Japan’s Kobe City Museum, and Chicago’s National Field Museum. If you happen to visit any of these places, make sure to enjoy a piece of art and fashion history by checking out the Versace exhibits.

versace museum

10. Criticism

The top labels in the fashion industry are no strangers to criticsm. You’re bound to ruffle some feathers when you’re pushing the envelope and breaking the status quo. In June 2016, Versace came under fire after an ad starring Gigi Hadid was revealed. The model and the fashion house were called out for being racist after depicting Gigi as a mother in an interracial relationship. The comments on Versace’s Instagram account pointed out that the baby in the ad was chained to the stroller, while other commenters were upset that the ad focused too much on the “token fair-skinned mother.”

11. Gianni Left His Niece a Chunk of His Fortune

In his will, Gianni made sure his family was taken care of financially. While his brother Santo received 30% of the company and Donatella was given 20%, it was her daughter, Allegra, who inherited the most. At the time of Gianni’s death, she was just 11-years-old and inherited 50% of the entire family business.

allegra versace

12. They’re the Makers Behind J Lo’s Dress

You remember J Lo’s dress right? Yes, that dress. The green silk floral number that stopped everyone in their tracks at the 2000 Grammy Awards. While the singer crashed the Internet the second she stepped foot on the Grammy red carpet, the dress was a pivotal moment in Versace history, too. Donatella said she had no idea the dress would cause such a stir after she sent it to J Lo to wear.

j lo versace

13. Elizabeth Hurley Helped the Brand Get Famous

Another celebrity who really helped put Versace on the map was Elizabeth Hurley. In 1994, she wore a black Versace gown that appeared to be held together by oversized safety pins. Maybe her acting career didn’t take off the way she expected, but at least she’ll always be remembered for wearing this dress.

elizabeth hurley versace

14. The Luxury Hotel

Versace is more than just a fashion empire, it’s now an entire lifestyle. In 2000, the brand opened its first Palazzo Versace hotel on Australia’s Gold Coast. And they followed up by opening a second location in Dubai. If you’re looking for a world-class accommodation where your every wish can be granted, these hotels were made for you. At Palazzo Versace, guests can request transportation to and from the hotel in a luxury Rolls Royce Phantom, take in the sights at the 90-berth marina, or enjoy the delectable feasts in the hotels’ award-winning restaurants.

versace hotel

15. Billion Dollar Brand

In 2014, a state-owned private equity fund purchased a 20% stake in the fashion retailer. The sale brought Versace’s value to about $1.4 billion dollars. According to Forbes, if Gianni were still alive today, his net worth would be $680 million dollars.


More in Fashion