Donatella Versace: The Artist, The Humanitarian

In 2016 Donatella Versace released a book titled “Versace”. The book delved into Donatella’s career after she took the helm following her brother Gianni’s murder. “Versace” has more than 300 pages, mostly images, but the first chapter -Donatella’s favorite, provides intimate images of her life, her family and her dog, Aubrey.

Donatella Versace and Aubrey, the artist’s four legged companion.

The youngest of Versace siblings, Donatella had a particularly strong bond with her brother Gianni, the founder of the storied label, and was the natural successor to him after his death in 1997.

“Versace” book cover (2016)

With verve and signature flamboyance she picked up the pieces, and with little expectation of success,  Donatella pushed the brand forward.

As an artist Ms Versace debuted her first collection for Atelier spring/summer ’98 on a see-through catwalk held over the swimming pool at the Ritz Hotel in Paris which resulted in instant acclaim from industry insiders.

Donatella Versace pushed the label forward after her brothers death in 1997. Photo: Ad campaign for the Versace Spring/ Summer 1998 collection by Donatella Versace

But it was her contribution to Google that catapult the unlikely hero to icon status when artist and actress Jennifer Lopez wore an exotic green Versace silk chiffon dress to the 42nd Grammy Awards ceremony on February 23, 2000.

The day after the Grammys, searches for the dress were the most popular query Google had ever seen, but the platform hadn’t yet developed an effective way to search photos. Thus, Google Images was born.

Artist and actress Jennifer Lopez in the infamous green Versace silk chiffon dress at the 42nd Grammy Awards ceremony

Known for making waves Versace recently appeared in an ad campaign for Givenchy alongside artistic director Riccardo Tisci, and the fact that she was willing to rep a brand other than her own caused quite a stir.

An active philanthropist, Versace serves as patron of the Elton John AIDS Foundation and in 2010 was awarded a ‘Do Something’ award by VH1 for her contributions to charitable work.

Earlier this month Donatella Versace and actress Scarlett Johannson accepted the amfAR award for their longtime support of amfAR and their exceptional contributions to the fight against AIDS.

Donatella Versace (left) and Scarlett Johansson recipients of the amfAR awards in New York (February 2017) photo by Kevin Tachman
19th Annual amfAR New York Gala - Inside
From left, Donatella Versace, Naomi Campbell, Heidi Klum, Alessandra Ambrosio, Zoe Kravitz at the 19th Annual amfAR New York Gala (February 2017) photo by Getty Images
Donatella Versace and actress and singer Zoe Kravitz at the 19th amfAR Gala in New York (February 2017) photo by Kevin Tachman

Actress, activist, and iconic supermodel Naomi Campbell presented the amfAR Award of Courage to her friend, Donatella Versace, describing her as a legend of the fashion world who is “renowned for her generosity.” Accepting her award, Versace honored her brother Gianni as a pioneer in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and promised to continue his fight, a cause she said has defined her life and is more important now than ever.



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Nichelle Cole is the founder & editor-in-chief of The Fashion Plate magazine. A respected writer, stylist and influencer, she has been published in fashion magazines around the world.

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