>> In 2004, Wall Street Journal's Deborah Ball reports in her just-published book House of Versace, Donatella Versace told her daughter Allegra Versace Beck she has until she is 24 to pursue her dream of becoming an actress. If Allegra didn't succeed by then, she had to come work for Versace. Allegra, who owns a majority stake in the company, turns 24 in June of this year.
The declaration could have changed by now — although in media interviews, Donatella still expresses hope that Allegra will join the company at some point. Allegra lives in New York and attends Versace board meetings; she was involved in replacing Versace's chief executive last May with current chief executive Gian Giacomo Ferraris. And at the beginning of 2009, she began spending more time in Milan and now has a desk in Donatella's atelier.
But not so fast »
But people familiar with the situation, Ball reports, say that Allegra seems reluctant to be drawn into the company. Beck, per usual, declined comment. Beck has not said she plans to do anything other than hold her 50 percent stake in the currently struggling company, but she does have options. She could keep the stake, in faith that Donatella and Ferraris will restore Versace to good health. Or she could sell to LVMH or PPR — the latter which has suggested its looking for acquisitions this year — and free herself of the burden, a move that some observers believe would give Versace a better fighting chance. Only problem is, selling would likely leave Donatella without a job. Beck had no comment on the possibility; Ferraris, meanwhile, says he expects Versace will still be independent in five years.