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The first Versace boutique was opened in Milan's Via della Spiga in 1978.In 1994, the brand gained widespread international coverage due to the "Black Versace dress of Elizabeth Hurley", referred to at the time as "that dress".
After the death of Gianni Versace in 1997 his sister Donatella Versace, formerly vice-president, took over as creative director and his older brother Santo Versace became CEO. Donatella's daughter Allegra Versace was left a 50 percent stake in the company, which she assumed control of on her eighteenth birthday.
In 2000, the "green Versace dress" worn by Jennifer Lopez at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards gained a lot of media attention, being voted as the "fifth most iconic dress of all time" in 2008, with Hurley's 2000 dress being voted first in a Daily Telegraph poll.
The company's profits were in decline in the early 2000s; Fabio Massimo Cacciatori was hired as interim CEO to reorganise and restructure the Versace Group in 2003.Cacciatori resigned in December 2003 due to "disputes with the Versace family".From 2004 Giancarlo di Risio, from IT Holding, was CEO of the group until his resignation in 2009 due to disagreements with Donatella. Since July 2009, Gian Giacomo Ferraris, previously of Jil Sander, has operated as CEO for the group.
In February 2014 The Blackstone Group purchased a 20 percent stake in Versace for €210 million.
As of August 2013, more than 80 boutiques operate worldwide; the first boutique outside of Italy was opened in Glasgow, Scotland in 1991.
Soheil Abedian, of the Sunland Group, approached Versace in 1997 and successfully proposed a luxury hotel built upon the Versace brand; the first Palazzo Versace opened on Australia's Gold Coast on 15 September 2000. The hotel was sold to a Chinese consortium in December 2012. Two further Palazzos are under construction, the Palazzo Versace Dubai; which is expected to be completed in late 2014;and the Palazzo Versace Macau which was announced in 2013 and will be built in partnership with Macau's largest casino operator SJM Holdings.