House of Versace
The Untold Story of Genius, Murder, and Survival
By Deborah Ball
(Three Rivers Press, Paperback, 9780307406521, 352pp.)
Publication Date: January 4, 2011
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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Versace. The very name conjures up images of outrageous glamour and bold sexuality, opulence and daring. All of course true, but only half the story. Versace is also the legacy of a great creative genius from a poor, backward part of southern Italy who transformed the fashion world through his intuitive understanding of both women and how a changing culture influenced the way they wanted to dress. The first book in English about the legendary designer, House of Versace shows how Gianni Versace, with his flamboyant sister Donatella at his side, combined his virtuosic talent and extraordinary ambition to almost single-handedly create the celebrity culture we take for granted today.
Gianni Versace was at the height of his creative powers when he was murdered in Miami Beach. The story was front page news around the world and the manhunt for his killer a media obsession. His beloved sister Donatella demanded no less than a funeral befitting an assassinated head-of-state to be held in Milan’s magnificent cathedral. In what was the ultimate fashion show, the world’s rich and beautiful – Princess Dianna, Elton John, Carla Bruni, Naomi Campbell, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, Anna Wintour and others – gathered to mourn a man already considered one of fashion’s great pioneers.
Deborah Ball, a long-time Milan correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, conducted hundreds of interviews with Versace family members, Gianni Versace’s lovers and business rivals, models such as Naomi Campbell whom he helped shoot to international stardom and fashion industry icons, including Anna Wintour, the legendary editor of Vogue.
Ball vividly recounts the behind-the scenes struggles – both creative and business – of Donatella as she stepped out of her brother’s long shadow and took control of the House of Versace. The book offers the first inside look at the enormous challenges Donatella faced in living up to Gianni’s genius, her struggle with a drug habit, her battles with her brother Santo and the mystery of why Gianni left control of his house to Donatella’s young daughter, Allegra. House of Versace is a compelling, highly readable tale of rise from obscurity, a painful fall and ultimate redemption as the Versace empire returned to health – for now.
Bringing together fashion, celebrity, business drama, jet-set lifestyles, and a notorious crime, House of Versace is an old-fashioned page-turner about a subject of enduring fascination.
A native of Boston, DEBORAH BALL has been a business journalist in Europe for more than 15 years. For 12 years, she has been a reporter for the Wall Street Journal in Milan, London and Zurich, covering a wide variety of business, finance and political topics. Between 1999 and 2002, she covered the European luxury goods sector for the Journal. Ms. Ball currently lives between Italy and Switzerland with her husband Fabrizio.
"Meticulously researched…answers more questions about the family behind the high-flying brand than most of us could think to ask. The Wall Street Journal writer's account … helps humanize a legendary family.--The Wall Street Journal
"Deborah Ball got the story. Thanks to an impressive degree of access to both Santo and Donatella, as well as to a host of their friends and family members, this Wall Street Journal writer describes in riveting detail what the siblings were thinking behind their grief-stricken visages."--The Washington Post
"Readers may feel as if they are breaking through the sequined barrier that has sheltered the family from the world's eye; that the shroud of mystery around them is finally lifted. The result is a read that is genuinely honest and riveting."--The Associated Press