Becky's Reviews > House of Versace: The Untold Story of Genius, Murder, and Survival

House of Versace by Deborah Ball
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Jul 27, 11

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bookshelves: biography, history
Read in July, 2011

I'm torn between the utter frivolity of the subject, and interest in the behind-the-scenes information on a business about which I previously knew almost nothing. The book isn't about the Versace murder, but about the fashion house itself, and its birth and near-death as a family concern. The author had the cooperation of everyone in the family except Allegra, the young heiress, which makes me wonder how honest it really is. On the one hand, she constantly raves about Gianni's genius (and maybe he was, but his genius wasn't fashion so much as marketing - but then, what is fashion, really?), but on the other, she actually owns that Donatella, originally Gianni's "muse," now resembles no one so much as Janice from the muppets--which, while true, is hardly the sort of thing a PR mouthpiece would say.

Mostly, it's a wonderful lesson on how not to run a business, but she does make Donatella especially come to life, so that in the end you're rooting for the company to survive, even though it couldn't matter less if there were one couture house fewer in the world.
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