Allegra Versace

Allegra Versace

Heiress of the house of Versace
Country: France

Content:
  1. Allegria Versace: The Heiress of Versace
  2. Family Disputes and Financial Difficulties
  3. Crisis and Creative Difficulties

Allegria Versace: The Heiress of Versace

Allergria Versace Beck, the daughter of Donatella Versace, has come of age and is now the majority shareholder of the famous fashion house, according to the will of her uncle, the founder of the company, Gianni Versace. The existence of a Versace heir became clear in 1997, after the announcement of Gianni Versace's will, following his murder in Miami. Allegria, the designer's niece, inherited 50% of the company's shares. According to one version, such a generous gift was made to spite Gianni's sister, Donatella, with whom his relationship was so strained at the time that they did not speak for six months. This tension was reflected in Gianni's will: ambitious Donatella received only 20% of the shares, his arrogant brother Santo received 30%, and the rest went to his beloved niece Allegria, whom he called "my little princess" and who distracted him from family conflicts.

Family Disputes and Financial Difficulties

It was widely known that the Versace family often had heated arguments, and money was the main source of conflict. When Gianni Versace was diagnosed with ear cancer in 1996, discussions about dividing the fashion house began among the relatives. Santo and Donatella had a bitter fight, while Allegria remained on good terms with everyone. Gianni Versace confessed in an interview with Vanity Fair, "Only Allegria tells me the truth and comforts me. For example, she can say, 'Gianni, don't worry about Mom. She always exaggerates a little.'" There were always plenty of reasons for quarrels between the Versace siblings, but the main one was money.

The company that Allegria inherited on her coming of age is significantly different from the one Gianni left behind. Although sales volumes still reach astronomical figures, they have decreased fourfold over the past seven years. In 2003, the decline reached 17.2%, and the company had to go into debt. The loan for debt restructuring from Banca Intesa, which finances many Italian fashion projects, amounted to $142 million. As a result, Versace will have to pay its creditors $120 million in the coming days.

Crisis and Creative Difficulties

Earlier this year, the professional reputation of the fashion house suffered greatly due to a scandal over financial abuses in the board of directors. As a result, many multi-brand boutiques, including the prestigious American department store Bergdorf Goodman, stopped buying Versace lines. Furthermore, the creative aspect of the business is also suffering. The lack of innovative ideas and charisma from creative director Donatella Versace led the company to withdraw from participating in Paris Haute Couture Week for the second time due to both financial and creative difficulties. It is clear that Donatella, ambitious but creatively inadequate, is unable to reach the standards set by her star brother.

To avoid further embarrassment, the family had to turn to other designers. In November of last year, there were rumors that the financial director of Gucci, Domenico De Sole, and designer Tom Ford, who were leaving the company at the time, would be appointed as the saviors of Versace. It was said that they were not only ready to attract investors but also to invest their own funds. Santo Versace dismissed these rumors as nonsense, while De Sole did not comment on them. Only Donatella Versace reluctantly admitted that such a possibility had been discussed. In March of this year, Santo Versace stated in an interview with Corriere della Sera that the company might sell 25% of its shares. At that time, the company's total debt was around 125 million euros, and according to Santo, bringing in a financial partner would accelerate the brand's expansion and development. Today, the Versace family continues to feverishly search for funds, enlisting the help of financial consultants Credit Suisse First Boston and Lazard. Potential partners include CVC Partners, Cerebus, and Apax Partners, but according to their representatives, the matter is still under consideration.

In June, another potential investor emerged – the Istithmar fund from the United Arab Emirates, with a banking balance of around $2 billion. It is expected to acquire a small stake in the company. "A brand like Versace is a dream for any sheikh. It is the best brand in Italy, and new funds will pull it out of the crisis," says Matteo Corsini, an Italian partner of Istithmar. The Versace family refuses to comment, diplomatically stating, "Many parties have shown great interest in the company."

Of course, it is too early to speak of a catastrophe for Versace; it is only a temporary crisis, which is not uncommon in the fashion world. As for the heiress herself, she is currently finishing her private school education in Milan and preparing to study drama at one of the prestigious universities in the United States. However, the blood of the Versace family is already making itself known: Allegria has already announced her intention to choose an independent advisor to manage her inherited stake in the fashion empire.

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