Blame it on good DNA—these are the fashion empires that keep it in the family.
An Italian fashion giant, Giorgio Armani formed his company in 1975. As of 2013, his estimated fortune was over $8.5 billion. His sister Rosanna works at Armani as do two of his nieces, Silvana and Roberta.
THE DELLA VALLES, TOD’S
Filippo Della Valle started his shoe-making shop in the 1920s, which grandson Diego Della Valle developed into the global brand now known as Tod’s. Brother Andrea Della Valle is also in the family business, as is Diego’s son, Emanuele.
Adele Casagrande founded the Italian leather-goods brand, but the house acquired its famed name in 1925, when Adele married Edoardo Fendi. Sold to LVMH in 1999, Silvia Venturini Fendi, Anna’s daughter and creator of the Baguette (amongst other bags), continues to run the day-to-day workings. her daughter, Delfina Delettrez, is a jewelry designer who often collaborates with her family’s business.
One of, if not the most, enduring names in American fashion, Ralph Lauren built a fashion and lifestyle empire. Born Ralph Lifshitz, the story goes that Lauren began by making clothes for his wife Ricky, turning the business into a nearly-$14 billion brand. His wife and children, including David Lauren, represent the Ralph Lauren brand the world over.
After studying his shoe craft in Naples, Salvatore Ferragamo, then 13, set up shop in his hometown of Bonito, Italy in 1912. Two years later, he immigrated to the US, learned factory techniques, and by 1923 was dubbed “Shoemaker to the Stars” in Hollywood. At the time of his death in 1960, Salvatore’s widow, Wanda Ferragamo, took the helm with the help of the couple’s six children—Fiamma, Giovanna, Fulvia, Ferruccio, Leonardo and Massimo. Today, the siblings continue the family name with the help of their children.
Ottavio Missoni and his wife, Rosita, began the Missoni line in 1953, five years after they opened their first knitwear workshop in Gallarate, Italy. Today, their daughter, Angela, is the company’s head designer, her brother, Luca, is the creative director, and her daughter, Margherita, designs Missoni’s accessories. In addition to apparel, the Missoni brand includes Missoni Home, which Rosita now oversees.
THE PINAULTS, KERING
PPR, now known as Kering, was founded in 1963 by businessman François Pinault. Son François-Henri Pinault joined the Pinault Group in 1987, where he held positions in several of the Group’s operating businesses before joining the executive board. In 2000, he became deputy CEO of Kering, which owns Gucci, Balenciaga and McQueen, among other luminous labels. Pinault is married to actress Selma Hayek and they have one daughter together.
In 1913, brothers Mario and Martino Prada opened Fratelli Prada, a leathergoods store, in Milan. Mario’s daughter-in-law, Luisa, took over the company upon his death 1958. Her own daughter, Miuccia, joined the business in 1977, and together with leathergoods manufacturer (and later husband) Patrizio Bertelli, moved the house in a completely new direction. Forgoing imported products in favor of a line of handbags, and later ready-to-wear, Miuccia’s creativity and Bertelli’s business acumen turned Prada into one of the world’s top-selling fashion lines.
Wunderkind Alexander Wang launched his eponymous line in 2007. Born to Taiwanese-American parents—who now own manufacturing facilities in China—in San Francisco in 1984, Wang moved to NYC to attend Parsons School of Design. Wang works alongside his brother Dennis, who holds the title chief principal officer, and sister-in-law and CEO Aimie—parents to an oft-photographed, very fashionable little girl.
Donatella Versace currently runs the house of Versace, taking over the business after her brother and founder Gianni Versace passed away tragically. Gianni built a booming business (which he founded in 1978) in the ’80s and ’90s and the company now flourishes under Donatella’s leadership.