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With Carla Bruni, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Helena Christensen at the Versace SS18 show during Milan Fashion Week in 2017

[Photo: Getty]

Proof Donatella Versace really is the ultimate fashion icon

There really is no stopping Donatella Versace, winner of this year’s Fashion Icon accolade at The Fashion Awards 2017.

Most people are looking to slow down their careers as they enter their 60s, but the Italian designer appears to be accelerating hers.

Love or hate her eye-catching designs and say what you will about her own looks, there’s no denying Donatella’s influence on the fashion industry and her success.

Aged 62, she’s artistic director and vice-president of a company with an annual revenue of £592m. A company, you most likely know, that fell into her lap two decades ago after the murder of her older brother Gianni. A shooting so shocking and unexpected it’s being turned into a TV mini series in early 2018. Penelope Cruz will play Donatella. 

Assuming such responsibility wasn’t natural for the designer. “In the years immediately after the murder, Donatella looked at times like a woman overwhelmed,” published The Guardian. “With the Barbie hair and the carefree partying, it was as if she continued playing the role of Gianni’s doll even when he was gone.”

And Donatella herself agrees entirely that she wasn’t ready for the role.  “For the first five years, I was lost,” she said. “I made a lot of mistakes.” Mistakes included battling an 18-year cocaine addiction.

But she found her voice and her own way of doing things and today there are very few designers A-listers would rather be dressed by.

Her real success started in 2005 when an advert hit headlines thanks to the female empowering image it portrayed: Madonna as a high-level working woman dressed in Versace.

And who could forget that plunging dress worn by Jennifer Lopez to the Grammys in 2000 or when the Beckhams twinned in all-leather Versace looks?

The 5ft 2in star is a master in socialising, which could well be the key to her success. She knows how to stay on top of who’s current and worth being seen with.

She’s close friends with Naomi Campbell and numerous other supermodels, posts selfies with Lewis Hamilton, works with Zayn Malik and has dressed everyone from Kylie Jenner for the 2017 Met Gala and Lady Gaga for the Super Bowl.

Above, her most memorable fashion moments.

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