Versace heiress “battling anorexia”

Allegra Beck Versace, the 20-year-old heiress to the fashion house
that bears her name, is suffering from anorexia, the eating disorder
which many people blame at least in part on the dictates of the beauty

“Our daughter, Allegra has been battling anorexia, a very serious
disease, for many years,” Donatella Versace said in a joint statement
released with Allegra’s father Paul Beck in a bid to stem rumours about
her daughter’s health.

Allegra inherited 50 percent of Versace on her eighteenth birthday
from her uncle Gianni. The fashion pioneer who famously dressed
Princess Diana and made Elizabeth Hurley’s safety-pin outfit, which
became known as “that dress”, was killed in 1997.

The girl Gianni called his “little princess” was only 11 when he was
gunned down outside his Miami Beach mansion by serial killer Andrew

“She is receiving the best medical care possible to help overcome
this illness and is responding well,” said the statement by Donatella,
who owns 20 percent of the firm and took over as Versace designer after
her brother’s death.

Versace’s public relations office said the family was launching
legal action against media that quoted Donatella as saying her daughter
had been admitted to hospital and that anorexia was “consuming” her.

No such comments were ever made, the Versace company said in a statement.

“Allegra is not at present staying in any hospital, she is living in
her private residence and her condition does not cause particular
concerns,” it said. Allegra is a student at Brown University, Rhode

“As parents, we are doing our best to protect our daughter. However,
due to numerous media reports, we want to let everyone know that we
appreciate their concern for Allegra, and we ask that her privacy be
respected at this time,” they said.

Anorexia is an eating disorder whereby sufferers starve themselves due to an obsessive fear of getting fat.

It has the highest fatality rate of any psychiatric illness, with 13
to 18 percent of sufferers dying, most commonly due to heart disease or
suicide, health experts in Britain say.

The fashion industry has been defending itself against sometimes
fierce criticism over recent months that its idealised versions of
femininity led women to eating disorders.

Last year Uruguayan model Luisel Ramos died of heart failure during
a fashion show in Montevideo and Brazilian Ana Carolina Reston died of
complications brought on by anorexia.

Since then Spain has banned overly skinny models from the catwalks.
Italian fashion houses have signed a pact not to use under-16-year-olds
or stick-thin adult models but it is far from being universally

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