VERSACE WILLS HIS STAKE TO NIECE
Byline: Samantha Conti
MILAN — Eleven-year-old Allegra Beck is the sole inheritor of her uncle Gianni Versace’s 50 percent stake in the fashion house carrying his name, a business that last year posted revenues of $490 million (845 billion lire).
The company also reported Wednesday that, as expected, her mother, Donatella Versace, will become chief designer of the company.
The firm announced these developments — including plans to forge ahead with a stock market listing — after a private television station in Milan, in a late-night broadcast, disclosed information regarding Gianni Versace’s will.
Separately, the company confirmed to WWD that Versace left Daniel Beck, Allegra’s eight-year-old brother, his art collection, which includes paintings by Pablo Picasso and Fernand Leger.
Versace was extremely close to his niece and nephew and had used them in his ad campaigns. The designer was especially fond of Allegra, whom he referred to as his “little princess.” The company declined to break out the financial worth of the two children.
To his companion and collaborator, Antonio D’Amico, the designer left a monthly stipend of 50 million lire — or the equivalent of $29,000 a month at current exchange rates. The will also says D’Amico will be able to live in Versace’s apartments and villas in Miami, Milan, Lake Como and Manhattan.
Wednesday’s statement was the company’s first official comment regarding the future of the Versace business since the designer was murdered in Miami on July 15.
“Gianni Versace’s share of the company, inherited by his niece, Allegra, will be managed by mutual agreement by her parents, Donatella Versace Beck and Paul Beck, together with her uncle, Santo Versace,” the firm said. “The company has always been and will remain under the family’s control, without interruption or change in the management style it has followed since it was founded in 1978, notwithstanding any single family member’s share quotas. All policy decisions, therefore, will be made strictly with the company’s future growth in mind.”
The statement also said that Donatella will “officially assume the position of chief designer” and will remain vice president with control over image and creative direction.
Industry sources indicated that Gianni Versace only recently increased his stake in the house to 50 percent. Donatella and brother Santo Versace, who is chairman and managing director of the company, hold the remaining shares and, the statement said, are now the sole members of the board of directors of Gianni Versace SpA.
The company also confirmed that it will go ahead with plans for a stock market listing.
“The preliminary mandate was executed to Morgan Stanley on July 10, 1997, and the project is going ahead in line with civil and fiscal laws of succession. The spin-off of the nonstrategic part of the company’s real estate into a separate company called Ordersystem is already operative,” it said.
As reported, before Versace died, the company shifted some $86.9 million (150 billion lire) in personal assets belonging to the family — including works of art and homes in Italy, New York and Miami — into Ordersystem, which is controlled by the Versace siblings.
WWD also learned that company shareholders met earlier this week to approve the incorporation of three directly controlled subsidiaries into Gianni Versace SpA. The step is part of the company’s plans to consolidate and streamline its operations in view of the planned stock market listing.
The three companies are Istante Vesa SRL, which controls the Istante business; Alias SpA, the group’s Novara-based clothing manufacturer, and Modifin SpA, which controls Versace-owned boutiques.
The company also said orders for Versace’s spring/summer 1998 pre-collections have “exceeded projections” and store openings next year in the U.S. are planned for New York, San Diego and Philadelphia. Stores will also open in London, Chile, Brazil and Venezuela.
The firm’s newest line, Versace Make-up, has already made its debut in Germany, England, France and Italy and will be introduced in the U.S., as planned, in January 1998, the statement added.
The fashion house has two shows scheduled during the upcoming spring/summer collections in Milan. Versus, which has been under Donatella’s design direction, will be shown on Oct. 4, and the Versace signature collection, now also under Donatella’s direction, will be shown on Oct. 9.