Versace fans vent fury over $2bn sale to Michael Kors

The expected $2bn takeover of Versace by US fashion giant Michael Kors has upset some fans of the Italian fashion house.

Creative director Donatella Versace's social media accounts have been swamped by loyal fans pleading with her to keep the brand independent.

One said they would "end it all" if the sale went ahead.

Donatella has run Versace since the 1997 murder of her brother Gianni, who founded the firm four decades ago.

Twitter and other social media is seeing some strong opinions about the move:

Twitter post by @MCGAMELIA: if michael kors buys versace i will end it allImage Copyright @MCGAMELIA@MCGAMELIA


Many of the comments are unrepeatable, but one common theme is a fear that the brand they revered would lose its unique quality.

Twitter post by @cvndynight: Kors buying Versace removes so much of it's appeal. Michael Kors is luxury but Versace is elegance and high-class. Clothes and accessories that speak for you. What does it become once it's owned by another entity.Image Copyright @cvndynight@CVNDYNIGHT


Its distinctive brand of glitz has been worn by some of the world's highest-profile stars and graced the pages of newspapers and magazines more often than almost any other luxury fashion brand.

A key moment came in 1994 when the unknown Elizabeth Hurley accompanied boyfriend Hugh Grant to the premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral. The tabloids could not believe the sight.

Versace, until then just another Italian fashion brand, became synonymous with "That Dress".

Liz Hurley and Hugh GrantImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionLiz Hurley in "That Dress" - with Hugh Grant - at the Four Weddings and A Funeral premiere

The brand is most valued by the glitzier ranks of the famous, with Michael Jackson and Princess Diana among its fans. She attended Gianni Versace's funeral, along with Elton John, who has also been a keen wearer of Versace.

The newer generation include Nicki Minaj, a clutch of Kardashians and Jenners, and the Beckham family, who are among the mere 161 people Donatella follows on Twitter.

Skip Instagram post by donatella_versace


End of Instagram post by donatella_versace

But those fearing a despoiling of the Versace magic may be worrying unnecessarily.

Michael Kors has gained new experience handling other luxury brands. Last year it bought Jimmy Choo, another tabloid fashion favourite, the luxury shoemaker founded in London, for almost £900m.

The Versace deal adds significantly to Kors' luxury portfolio.

The Versace family owns 80% of the company, with the remaining 20% owned by the private equity firm Blackstone Group.

It reported sales of €686m for 2016 and chief executive Jonathan Akeroyd said earlier this year that annual turnover was soon expected to exceed €1bn.

If Donatella herself stays on it is possible fans will not notice any change. After all, why buy a well-loved business and tear up what makes it appealing?

Gianni and Donatella VersaceImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionGianni and Donatella Versace in 1996 - the year before the designer was murdered

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seth Posted on September 25, 2018 12:06

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Commented on September 25, 2018 12:08