The Versace family empire has distanced itself from a made-for-television drama based on the rise of Donatella Versace following the murder of her brother, company founder Gianni Versace.
Premiering in the US over the weekend, House of Versace detailed how Donatella almost bankrupted the luxury fashion brand, following her addiction to drugs.
But, in a statement to fashion website WWD, Versace said it was not involved in the creation or production of the biopic – based on an unauthorised biography – and said it should be treated as a “work of fiction”.
House of Versace chronicles how Donatella’s family, including daughter Allegra and aunty Lucia – played by Raquel Welch – helped her overcome her addiction and resurrect the family empire.
Critics have had mixed reactions to the mini-series. LA Times reviewer Robert Lloyd said what the drama lacked in subtlety and complexity, it made up for with arguments and tantrums in fake Italian accents.
But the New York Times called it a “mass-market knockoff of a luxury brand”. One of reviewer Jon Caramanica’s criticisms was that too much time was given to business meetings, rather than the brash fashion with which the Versace brand has become synonymous.
Gianni Versace, who launched the eponymous brand in 1978, was killed in a random shooting outside his Miami mansion in 1997. In the aftermath of his death, most of the Versace family went into seclusion and one of the design house's spring-summer collections was cancelled as a result. However, just over a year after Gianni's death Donatella returned to produce her first couture show for the fashion brand.
She now owns 20% of the fashion brand, with her brother Santo owning 30% and her daughter Allegra owning the remaining 50%.