J.Lo's Favorite Designer Needs Cash
Jennifer Lopez may have been a vision in pink in her Versace gown at this year's Academy Awards, but the fashion house itself is seeing nothing but red -- as in red ink -- and is desperately seeking investment partners to raise about $176 million, reports The New York Times. And that money is needed soon. Roughly $26 million is required to settle estate taxes incurred when the family sold the art collection and homes of Gianni Versace, the company's founder, after he was murdered outside his Miami mansion in 1997, reports The Times. Since his death, Gianni's sister, Donatella Versace, has led the company on the creative side, while his brother, Santo Versace, minded the company's finances. (The two siblings and Donatella's daughter, Allegra Beck, now own the entire enterprise.) Despite Gianni's death five years ago, the house that still bears his name has still managed to cling to its cachet, despite the "shabby" condition of some of its boutiques, The Times reports. Besides J.Lo's girlish, bubble-gum pink Oscar number (and that still-talked-about green Grammy get-up), such luminaries as Chelsea Clinton, Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow were much photographed at January's Versace couture show in Paris. Still, the cachet has not been reflected in the company's bottom line. The year Gianni died, the company reported annual sales of $560 million, says The Times. In 1999, it was $374 million, and in 2000, $392 million.
See Chelsea Clinton hobnobbing at the Versace show in our gallery.
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