Donatella Versace remembers late brother Gianni on his 76th birthday

Donatella Versace has paid tribute to her late brother Gianni – who founded the luxury fashion house – on what would have been his 76th birthday.

Gianni founded Versace in 1978 after opening his boutique in Milan and enlisted Donatella as vice president and their brother Santo as president of the company.

He was murdered 25 years ago in 1997 outside his mansion in Miami Beach by Andrew Cunanan, who went on a killing spree.

On Friday (2 December), Donatella shared two throwback photographs of her and Gianni, one as adults and one as children.

She wrote in the caption: “Simple words cannot express Gianni’s creative genius. On his birthday, today and every year, I celebrate how his talent sent ripples into the world of fashion and beyond.

“Gianni, I love and miss you so much. Happy Birthday xx.”

The first photograph in her post showed her and Gianni posing arm in arm and wearing matching black clothing. The second is a sepia-toned photograph of them as young children, with Gianni holding Donatella on his lap.

Friends of the Versace family sent their love to Donatella in the comments, including Gucci’s former creative director Alessandro Michele, Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli, British designer Kim Jones and Saint Laurent’s Anthony Vaccarello.

Celebrities also left heart emojis under the post, including Dua Lipa, Emily Ratajkowski, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Cindy Crawford.

Following Gianni’s murder on 15 July 1997, Donatella became the artistic director of Versace and has held the role ever since.

She also paid tribute to her brother on the 25th anniversary of his death this year with snaps of him, and wrote: “25 years of missing you, Gianni. Every day, I wish you were still here.”

In 2017, Donatella opened up about the pressure she felt to helm Versace after Gianni died.

She told the Guardian that she had the “eyes of the whole world on me and 99 per cent of them thought I wasn’t going to make it”.

“And maybe I thought the same, at first. My brother was the king, and my whole world crashed around me.”

But under Donatella’s leadership, Versace remains a hugely influential name in the fashion industry. The Versace family owned 80 per cent of the label until 2018, when it was acquired for US$2.12bn (£1.72bn) by Capri Holdings, which belongs to US designer Michael Kors.