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Versace

Gianni Versace S.p.A. is an Italian clothier founded by Gianni Versace in 1978

Gianni Versace S.p.A. is an Italian clothier founded by Gianni Versace in 1978. After Gianni Versace's death in 1997, his sister Donatella Versace, formerly vice-president, stepped in as creative director of the designing House and Santo Versace as CEO. Currently, Donatella Versace controls the majority of the company's assests until her daughter, Allegra, the sole-heiress of the Versace fortune, is prepared to take an active role.

The first Versace boutique was opened in Milan's Via della Spiga in 1978, and its popularity was immediate. Today, 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. Each team is specifically dedicated to each fashion line or label. These teams operate under the close supervision and guidance of Creative Director, Donatella Versace.

Versace lines There are several lines which make up Versace Group. They are: Gianni Versace Couture, Versus, Versace Jeans Couture, Versace Ceramic Designs, Versace Collection (which replaced Versace Classic in 2005), Versace Sport. In addition to clothing and accessories, it also operates a hotel, the Palazzo Versace.

Gianni Versace Couture, which contains high-end, often handmade apparel, jewellery, watches, fragrances, cosmetics and home furnishings, is the House's main line. Traditionally, this is the only line which is presented on the runway which is shown during Milan's fashion week, but this has not be strictly the case in recent years. Couture dresses in this line may cost about $10,000 and a suit $5,000. Donatella Versace directly heads this line and designs a vast amount of the items. Many of the accessories and home furnishings are licenced through Rosenthal and other notable companies. Most of these have the unique Versace Greek print of Medusa and/or the Greek Key motif. Atelier Versace was a haute-couture line which was discontinued soon after its inception due to lack of sales and a fall in couture marketablility.

Versace Collection, Versace Jeans Couture and Versus are all licenced diffusion lines. These clothing lines incorporate elements of the signature Gianni Versace line, while focusing on current seasonal trends. Often these lines are created and produced via other designer companies, which are in constant communication with the Versace Group. Versace Collection is aimed at a younger audience than the main lines and it is also more available to a variety of economic demographics. This collection replaced Versace Classic for Spring/Summer 2005 in a drive to eradicate a skewed Versace image, due to the diffusion of multiple clothing lines within the company. In addition to the Versace Classic, the clothier also discontinued Versace Intensive and Versace Young in 2005 for the same reasons.

Versace Jeans Couture, a casual clothing line, focuses on informal clothing: high-end denim and classic Gianni Versace print shirts. It is readily available and comparably affordable. This line is distributed through 56 boutiques and flagship stores, and 1800 multi-brand points of sale, including Internet-based shops. Versace Sport is comprised of activewear and accessories. The name is often printed on t-shirts. Versace Precious Items makes timepieces, jewellery, and writing instruments, and is a sub-brand of Gianni Versace. The quality timepieces and fine jewellery are made in Switzerland, and the writing instruments are made in France.

Versace going public In May 2006, it was reported in WWD that Versace chief executives Giancarlo Di Risio and Perdrum Partovi said Versace Group would consider an IPO (initial public offering) on the stock market by next year, ahead of a proposed schedule. This was due to a drop in operating losses from 62m to 4m for 2005, based on sales for the House during the prior 12 months.

Faces of Versace & celebrity culture Versace has many fans among well-known celebrities. Elton John has long been a wearer of Versace, often featuring custom items covered in diamonds or Swarovski crystal. Other notables fans of the Versace brand are Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Hurley. Tupac Shakur (2pac) rapped about wearing the Versace label in songs such as "Hit 'Em Up" which was a diss to rival rapper Notorious B.I.G aka Biggie Smalls. The late rap icon The Notorious BIG was known for his love of Versace sunglasses.

Versace is unique among Italian houses to use a "face" for the House. The design company sometimes features famous individuals in their widely-seen advertisements. Whereas other houses often rely on press attention, Versace has gone a step further in their advertising strategy. As part of a such a "face" feature, the celebrity is often paid a sum and Versace clothing, compliments of the House. Madonna, for example, was paid $10.5m and given free Versace clothes for 2 years for her contibution to Versace advertising campaign in 2005.

Some of the celebrities that have been the face "for Versace" are Madonna (1995 and 2005), Demi Moore, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera. Halle Berry was the face of Versace for Spring/Summer 2006.

Versace utilized the models Carolyn Murphy, Christy Turlington and Kate Moss to front the Fall/Winter 2006/7 campaign.

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