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House of Versace: The Untold Story of Genius, Murder, and Survival Hardcover – February 2, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; First Edition edition (February 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307406512
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307406514
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 6.9 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #767,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Meticulously researched…answers more questions about the family behind the high-flying brand than most of us could think to ask. The Wall Street Journal writer's account … helps humanize a legendary family.--The Wall Street Journal

"Deborah Ball got the story. Thanks to an impressive degree of access to both Santo and Donatella, as well as to a host of their friends and family members, this Wall Street Journal writer describes in riveting detail what the siblings were thinking behind their grief-stricken visages."--The Washington Post

"Readers may feel as if they are breaking through the sequined barrier that has sheltered the family from the world's eye; that the shroud of mystery around them is finally lifted. The result is a read that is genuinely honest and riveting."--The Associated Press

About the Author

A native of Boston, DEBORAH BALL has been a business journalist in Europe for more than 15 years. For 12 years, she has been a reporter for the Wall Street Journal in Milan, London and Zurich, covering a wide variety of business, finance and political topics. Between 1999 and 2002, she covered the European luxury goods sector for the Journal. Ms. Ball currently lives between Italy and Switzerland with her husband Fabrizio.

More About the Author

A native of Boston, DEBORAH BALL has been a business journalist in Europe for more than 15 years. For 12 years, she has been a reporter for the Wall Street Journal in Milan, London and Zurich, covering a wide variety of business, finance and political topics. Between 1999 and 2002, she covered the European luxury goods sector for the Journal. Ms. Ball currently lives between Italy and Switzerland with her husband Fabrizio.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I thought the book was very well written.
Julie M. Nolan
That's the real drama in Deborah Ball's "House of VERSACE" -- a real, human story.
Aldan
I had a hard time putting this book down.
W. Shaw Lori Shaw

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bradley F. Smith on March 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A WSJ biz writer who lived in Europe for 15 years wrote this full scale business bio of the Versace tragedy, and it's a great read in all its pathos. She received full cooperation from everyone except Allegra Versace, daughter of Donatella and heiress to the house of Versace because her late uncle willed it all to her when she was just 12. Donatella's drug use is not spared here, but she received even-handed treatment as we see exactly what she faced when Gianni Versace was murdered in Miami and left her to replace him as the designing genius. She wasn't up to the task, but she muddled through. The story ends recently, but the tale of Versace is still unfolding. The main flaw is the relative lack of good photos. We get several generic shots of Casa Casuarina, the Ocean Drive mansion where Versace was shot. But there are none of the Milan atelier where all the clothes are designed and where a lot of this tale takes place.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Clark on March 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The Versace family's story is riveting. It's basically a rags to riches story with celebrities, rock 'n' roll, and murder mixed in. On top of that, there's a moving finale, when Donatella descends into drugs, nearly trashes the company, and then fights her way back from the depths and emerges again to live another day. It would be a happy ending, except that the company is still struggling and Versace's heir, Allegra, is still grappling with the fallout from it all.
In less sure hands, the over-the-top material would overwhelm the author. Deborah Ball does an excellent job of capturing the drama and pathos while still getting the facts straight. The result is a behind-the-scenes peek at life in the fast lane that at the same time offers insight into the characthers' inner lives. The book uses the family history as a way of looking at the changes in the fashion world in the past decades, and the impact that Gianni had on it. So anyone looking for a perspective on the fashion business, and for insight on how the fashion business has affected consumer tastes, would find food for thought here. And it doesn't have the warmed-over feel of a mish-mash of old press clippings, because it's clearly well researched. The author's time as a fashion reporter in Italy clearly helps make the book authentic.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. Baird on April 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I just finished House of Versace and enjoyed it tremendously. The research must
have been mammoth but it showed in the brilliant text. I also loved the writing
style. Often in either a well-researched piece or something dealing with fashion
and/or business, I become overwhelmed or bored. I was neither. One of the best
biographies I ever read was Charles Shields' Mockingbird: a Portrait of Harper
Lee. I felt after finishing the book about a complex and amazing woman that
Shields took the perfect measure of praise and honest criticism. It is a true
and realistic book that should have made Ms Lee pleased that he chose to tackle
her biography. I felt EXACTLY the same when I finished this fantastic book.
Gianni should be honored that Deborah Ball chose to do his biography in such a
careful and fair manner
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Julie M. Nolan on February 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book and was sad when I finished it. I thought the book was very well written. It may have something to do with the 220 interviews that the author conducted in order to really give you a clear picture and accurate timeline of the Versace family and the fashion world. It should be required reading for anyone going into the field of fashion or marketiing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By coffe Di on January 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good read, salacious and somewhat juicy without being tasteless. Quite a dynamic between the three sibs in a southern Italian frame of mind. Think striving to be the best when others think you don't measure up because of where you are from. Working hard always got someone somewhere and that is the moral of their story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By SAB on January 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this after seeing the television movie based upon this book. The book contains a lot more detail than did the movie, and it really described well the history of the Versace family. Well done.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Absolutely fantastic read!!! I had already started reading this book when the lifetime movie came out. The movie was inaccurate and pissed me off, however the book is well worth a read! I remember Gianni - even had a few of his more conservative pieces - I remember when I found out he'd been killed - I was eating breakfast watching a morning show and just went numb. I didn't understand before the complex world of fashion, relationships, interrelationships between designers and buyers, and personal biases before this book. I'm not sure how many people outside the fashion business have any clue what goes on. My view was, before I read this book, "sure Armani wants to have a better runway show and outsell Versache and vice versa, but they appeal to different age groups and tastes so it's not a huge competition thing..." Yeah. Dead wrong! Read this book even if you aren't a fashionista - it is warm, funny, cut-throat, psychotic, touching, gut-wrenchingly human and will bring tears to your eyes all in one book!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eleni on January 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book provides a good overview of the story of the two siblings. It offers casual and easy reading. May not be scientific enough for research but still very informative.
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