mom dressed me in silk to go to elementary

There are many exalted distinctions Donatella Versace can lay claim to: being one of the most famous women in the world and having one of the best wardrobes, most killer bodies, most insane jewelry collections, and even the most famous friends. But "supermom" would probably not be one of them. Yet here she is, in her cheap tiffany home away from home, the Beverly Hills Hotel, with her 20-year-old daughter, Allegra, acting all mother-hen-like, proud as the perennial parental peacock--in skintight Versace black, of course--fluttering around Allegra (whom her late uncle, Gianni, nicknamed Little Princess) like the proud Italian mama she surprisingly actually is. Who would have thought? DV's been daring designer darling by night and undercover supermom in her corsets and satin jeans by day.
Her daughter is taking time off from Brown University to study acting, French, and art history at nearby UCLA. Brother Daniel, age 16, lives in Milan with Mom. Allegra attends classes five days a week, keeps an eye and ear on the family business, and hits the Hollywood night circuit only occasionally and with close friends--a group that does not include a high celebrity quotient, though it certainly could. On weekends, she rides her bike on Venice Beach, studies, and sees Mom on monthly visits. "Oddly enough," says the auburn-haired Allegra, in a tunic, on sale tiffany pendants, and flats, "I've found it easier to go to school here in L.A. It's less distracting. If I'm doing something, I tend to do it in a concentrated way." Her mother even frowns on Allegra driving, so she uses a driver. "Why should she have to park?" balks Donatella. "Who wants to deal with that?"
While her mother's accent is flamboyant Italiano, Allegra's is a soft hybrid of Brit and American, and in many ways she seems her mother's diametrical opposite: shy, introverted, even a little bit hesitant. After all, Allegra knows there's much curiosity about her, the private heiress scion of a famous family.Even those outside the industry are aware of Gianni Versace's legacy--and, no doubt, his will. When he died tragically in 1997, he left his shares in the company--a whopping 50 percent--to Allegra, the daughter of his sister and former model/current Versace on sale tiffany bracelets Paul Beck. (Donatella and oldest brother Santo hold the other 50 percent.) Technically, Allegra could be considered her mother's boss. Yet, surrounded by Medusa pillows and an entourage, the 51-year-old would not appear to answer to anyone, let alone her own daughter.
"I'm the creative director," she says about the company's structure and power protocol. She's riding high after a stellar spring collection lauded by both critics and retailers. "But the future is young people. I'm so proud of Allegra because she's such a good girl, a mature girl, so together, so good at doing her job as shareholder in the company. Businesswise, she follows everything." So will a Versace-clad Allegra soon rule the boardroom? "I don't know what I'm going to do yet," Allegra offers. "I know I'm going to do something creative, but I'm also on sale tiffany bangles business." She's keeping her options open, but for now she prefers to stay out of the limelight that floods her mother. "I have tried to protect my children from the spotlight," says Donatella. "Until Allegra was 18, particularly. Then--and now--she's not the kind of person to show off. She could be showing up in the newspaper as much as she wants. But she wants to be her own person, not 'daughter of' or 'niece of.' It's hard to grow up the way I grew up, in the public eye. It's a big family name to compete with."Big name indeed. During Allegra's nine years studying ballet, Gianni secured a birthday dance for his niece with ballet superstar Maurice Béjart.
"I don't tell many people my last name," admits Allegra, a dual citizen of Italy and the U.S. "I go by Beck more than Versace." She also shies away from her mother's famous pals. "It's not like I want my mom's friends to take care of me!" Though business is a perennial topic, it's certainly not the only subject during their daily chats."Makeup, outfits Allegra adores!" says Donatella, beaming. "She grew up with discussions of fashion and style. When she was little, it was all she heard me and Gianni talk about."Now Allegra frequently conducts her shopping in her mother's gargantuan Milan closet. "She'll say, 'You can't take that,'" notes Allegra. "Then she'll make it for me." "I have created a monster!" moans Donatella. "But I cannot blame Allegra for caring about clothes. Look who her example was. She was the best-dressed little girl in Milan.""My mom dressed me in silk to go to elementary school," recalls Allegra. "In kindergarten, they sent me home because I couldn't do finger painting in my dress."

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