question time with donatella versace
We get Donatella's friends and admirers (including Liz Hurley and Claudia Schiffer) to ask her one question each... Here's what we discovered!
Donatella Versace after her autumn/winter 14 show
Donatella Versace is the iconic blond bombshell with a knack for designing clothes that make women feel sexy and glamorous. Since the death of her beloved brother Gianni in 1997, Donatella has nurtured the Versace legacy - her vision and incredible design sense catapulting the house from strength to strength. Today, with the front row of her fashion shows dazzling nearly as much as the clothes, Donatella is a fashion force to be reckoned with. In an exclusive interview, the many admirers of Donatella to quiz the fabulous designer on her guilty pleasures, keeping young and her ultimate party list. Ladies and gentlemen put your hands together for a legend.
Carolyn Murphy, supermodel. What's the best present you have ever received?
Liz Hurley, glamorous to the extreme, actress and presenter. Liz is a huge Versace fan whose fame was sealed when she wore THAT safety pin dress. Do you go to church?
I used to go when I was a kid. Now it's just occasionally.
Jonathan Saunders, London-based Scottish designer. Which Versace Collection is your favourite and why?
My next one of course! Because I'm never completely satisfied with the current collection and always working so far in advance.
Edward Enninful, Consultant Fashion Director, i-D. Versace's advertising has some of the strongest imagery of the past 20 years, which photographer has produced the most influential image of the Versace woman?
We have worked with so many great ones it's so difficult just to nominate one. Richard Avedon, Bruce Weber, Mario Testino, Steven Meisel and Irving Penn are just a few. I guess Avedon would be the one that remains in everyone's mind the most.
Princess Julia, club legend and underground royalty. Are you the kind of girl who takes a long time getting ready or can you whip up a look in a matter of minutes?
No, I like to take my time getting ready. But I'm a busy lady so I don't have this luxury so often and usually find myself whipping up something in a minute.
Kim Jones menswear designer. If you were an animal what would you be?
A big cat - a leopard or a jaguar.
Christopher Kane, London-based designer. What would be the best bit of advice you could offer to young designers starting their own fashion label?
Be strong, independent, and focused. Look to yourself for inspiration. To succeed you have to establish an identity that people can relate and aspire to.
Simon Foxton, Consultant Fashion Director, i-D. What's your favourite thing about being older?
Wisdom and looking much younger than my real age!
Ben Reardon, Editor, Man About Town. What is your guilty pleasure? And what's your favourite colour?
Spending a patrimony on beauty creams! I just love beauty products. My favourite colour? Blonde, naturally.
Lauren Cochrane, fashion writer. Is it true blondes have more fun?
Pat McGrath, make-up artist. Which film in movie history do you find most inspiring and how has it influenced your work?
Marie Antoinette for the incredible wardrobe and excess. Memoirs Of A Geisha for its depiction of just how strong influential women have been even years back. The Devil Wears Prada because it makes me laugh out loud. I have also just recently rediscovered Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor. What an amazing set.
Marios Schwab, London-based designer known for his tight, short sexy dresses. What will you be reading this summer?
A stack of magazines and a biography on Marie Antoinette.
Judy Blame, accessories designer. Do you enjoy anything that isn't glamorous or luxurious?
No - I think even the most natural simple things in life can have an innate sense of glamour and luxury.
Joe McKenna, legendary stylist. Who would play you in a movie?
I would love it if Cate Blanchett would do the honours but the only problem is that she is just way too tall!
Lulu Kennedy, Director of Fashion East. What the best thing a friend has ever done for you?
Told me the truth even though I didn't want to hear it.
Mark Ellis, Founder of London-based vintage clothes store Palette. Do you think Francesca Versace's debut collection shown at Central Saint Martins last year unveiled a talent that will further enhance the family's brand equity in the fashion world?
She certainly has an artist vein and her own ideas. But I think she is interested in doing something on her own.
Cecilia Dean, Founding partner and Editor, Visionaire. How are you helping the environment?
I could do so much more to be honest. But I am concentrating on using more eco-friendly materials and products.
Claudia Schiffer, supermodel. Even though you are an integrated part of Versace design and its heritage, if you could spend one day at another fashion house where would it be?
Balenciaga! My favourite.
Lotta Skeletrix, London-based, Russian designer, known for her gothic aesthetic. What's your earliest fashion memory?
My brother dressing me up.
Mandi Lennard, London-based PR. I'm exhausted when I get home from work. Do you have a vegetarian recipe for something quick and delicious to cook including a nice wine?
Does pasta with Caviar count as vegetarian?
Angela Lindvall, supermodel. How do you manage running an empire like Versace, being a mother and attending your own personal needs?
Luckily I don't need a lot of sleep. Prioritising is key.
Jodie Harsh, Party host and drag queen extraordinaire. Which personalities would be on your ultimate party guest list?
How big is the party? If it were huge then I'd have the court of Louis XIV along to add some real glamour. Prince, The Stones, Andy Warhol, a young Brando and Marilyn Monroe. Sinatra singing, with backing vocals from David Bowie and Beyoncé. Supported by an orchestra conducted by Mozart, set design by Leonardo da Vinci, a catwalk show styled by Michelangelo, Alexander the Great and Cleopatra in the front row. Coco Chanel and Oscar Wilde in conversation and, of course, as the guest of honour, my brother Gianni.
Text Holly Shackleton
Photography Mitchell Sams