Donatella Versace just may be the most influential fashion designer on the planet right now. While her contemporaries have pulled away from the spotlight, Donatella has been front and center with eye-catching ready-to-wear fashion collections, seriously sexy fragrances, must-watch Instagram videos and lust worthy accessories. She’s remained relevant with a new generation of fragrance and fashion enthusiast thanks to her love of music, art and social media. Almost every chart-topping artist from Taylor Swift to Madonna has been spotted wearing her creations. And while her signature style is full-on glam, it’s her sense of humour that has come through in recent years. Donatella is fun.
It’s hard to believe that Donatella Versace has been at the helm of the brand longer than her brother Gianni, who was sadly murdered in 1997 by Andrew Cunanan. The pair were incredibly close and losing him so young was a devastating blow to the stylist and image director. But even at this early period, Donatella’s influence on the success of the Versace brand was underrated. It was she who came up with the idea of stacking the Versace runway with supermodels. It was Donatella who courted pop stars. And it was Donatella who dreamt up the provocative ad campaigns. Gianna designed. Donatella marketed and promoted.
She freely admits that the early years were rocky. Taking over a global fashion brand was a momentous task and she learned valuable lessons along the way.
“Gianni was a genius,” she told GQ magazine. “If Gianni wasn’t there, I wouldn’t be here today. I’m a different kind of person. He broke barriers. Giannia wasn’t afraid. I mean, he was showing sex. At that time, some people said it was vulgar, that was the word given to him, but, you know, women love what Gianni did, not because they showed skin, but because he empowered women. He told them not to be afraid of sexuality.”
She says her approach to fashion has changed in the last several years. “I’ve changed completely. It needs to be better. It needs to be cooler. It needs to be a little bit of streetwear, but at the same time it needs to be glamorous. Versace stands for beauty, sex and glamour.”
Donatella Versace bottles her sexy design sense with sensuous fragrances for women and men. And what is impressive is that she has stayed true to this laser-sharp vision. When you buy a Versace fragrance, you take an olfactory trip into a jet-set world of luxury villas, private jets and VIP parties. You may not be able to afford this lifestyle but you can experience her vision through fragrance. Every single detail of Versace fragrances is directed by Donatella from the shape and weight of the cap to the quality of ingredients to the ad campaigns – most often still shot by famed fashion photographer Bruce Weber.
Bright Crystal might just be the scent closest to her heart. It’s a romantic floral for her that features the flowers she most loves to have in her home: magnolia and peony. The opulent base of rich amber gives it a Versace signature.
Eros for him continues to be a global blockbuster with its fresh, clean yet sexy character. Master perfumer Aurelien Guichard mixed refreshing mint oil with green apple and Italian lemon. Tonka and ambroxan add warmth. While geranium flowers add a spicy twist. It’s a best-seller worldwide.
Donatella Versace in her own words:
Here, she shares her creative vision and life philosophy..
“I am convinced that every woman and man likes to feel sexy and desired. It is a primal instinct for us. Gianni always designed with that in mind – to seduce and make a person feel sexy – and that is the same for me.”
“New York is the most exciting city for me.”
“The intense summer smells of nature, such as orange flowers and jasmine, remind me of my childhood in Reggio, Calabria.”
“I feel serene about my work and want to continue bringing forth what the Versace House has always stood for – the bold colour palette juxtaposed with vampish black and dazzling fabrics. The silhouettes, as always, are very fitted and very tight.”
“You always want to feel sexy. You want people to look at you and say, ‘Wow.’” – Donatella Versace
“I am a very curious person therefore I get inspiration from music, photographs, films, discovering new places and meeting people. In these rapidly changing times, I try to listen to the needs and desires of people then translate them into new projects which can be a new fragrance, hotel or women’s collection.”
“I used to dream of working in show business, but I adore the world of fashion. I am a fashionista and proud to be one.”
“What’s important is that every woman has to feel her makeup is very distinctive and personal.”
“Music is the most influential thing in my life and work. Music is about breaking rules and finding new beats and listening to new sounds.”
Versace fragrances are available in Canada at Shoppers Drug Mart Beauty Boutiques, shoppersdrugmart.ca, Hudson’s Bay stores, thebay.com, Sephora stores and sephora.ca