Donatella Versace is the Queen of glamour

For autumn/winter 14, Donatella Versace saddled up and took her men to the Wild Wild West with a raunchy cowboy collection of red leather chaps, codpieces, gold baroque-style patterned shirts, eye-catching studs, buckles and cheeky flashes of man bum...

by i-D Team
Jan 13 2014, 2:05pm

Photography Mitchell Sams

Be brave, be bold and have faith in your own abilities. Never be afraid to try new things, whatever other people might say.

Versace is the epitome of glamour and decadence. What is…

a) The most glamorous thing you've ever worn from head to toe?
Every time I wear an Atelier Versace dress I feel incredibly glamorous. I once wore my Jungle Dress to an event, the one that Jennifer Lopez made famous when she wore it to the Grammys. Someone told me recently it was voted one of the most iconic dresses of all time, so I suppose I would pick that one.

b) The most decadent thing you've ever done?
Decadence can come in different shapes and sizes. Our parties are often fairly grand affairs, but personally I find customising the hotel rooms I stay in with Versace cushions, furnishings, scented candles and flowers, makes me feel pretty decadent.

c) The most glamorous party you've ever attended?
It may not be everyone's idea of glamour, but I was invited to the first White House Correspondent's Association Dinner after President Obama was inaugurated, and it was so exciting. I love American politics; so to meet those people was a real thrill.

What does fashion mean to you today?
What it has always meant - a way to make you look sexy and glamorous.

Do you still feel the same about fashion as when you started?
I feel more knowledgeable about fashion today than I did back then. And I think I actually feel more passionate about it, as now I really understand it is full of possibilities.

Do you think it's still possible to be 'new' in fashion?
Yes, of course. Naturally, as time goes on there is more and more history for designers to draw on, and you could take the view that this means everything has been done before. But my brother Gianni believed that history was there to inspire and that you could always make something new and fresh. I certainly believe that, which is why I find designing so exciting. There is always potential. It's like music; just when you think that no one can come up with a new sound, you hear a record and you think, 'Wow, that is completely different!'

What was your goal when you took over the helm of Versace?
To find a way of expressing my own creative vision, while staying true to the DNA that my brother had established.

How have you injected your own personality into the house?
It took a few years, but in the end I realised I did have a voice of my own. It was hard at first as Gianni had taught me everything I knew about fashion. So to begin with I was very influenced by what he had done, and what we had worked on together. Then slowly I started to introduce things that I like, until a few years back I realised I was really comfortable designing Versace. Broadly, you could say that my vision is perhaps a little more restrained than Gianni's. But then he did become famous in the eighties, the ultimate decade of excess.

What do you love most about your job?
The chance to express myself creatively, and all the interesting people I meet.

What is the greatest lesson that Gianni taught you?
Be brave, be bold and have faith in your own abilities. Never be afraid to try new things, whatever other people might say.

What advice would you give new designers starting out?
Decide what you want to do and then stay true to yourself. You will only succeed if you are passionate about what you do, and you can only be passionate if you believe in what you are doing.

Other than fashion, what's most important in your life?
My family, and then my music.


Photography Mitchell Sams