August 14, 2018

“When I first met [Donatella] and Gianni I was so moved by their relationship and how she was his original muse. She brought his ideas about female beauty to life. I am so proud of all Donatella has done. Her Versace not only respects the heritage of the brand but also brings a modern perspective for the women of today.” – Cindy Crawford on Donatella Versace

Born to a dressmaker, Gianni Versace would grow up to found the eponymous house of Versace alongside his sister Donatella. Donatella wore many hats, managing Versace’s public relations department and serving as chief designer for the company’s Versus line while remaining Gianni’s muse and confidant until his sudden death in 1997. Bereaved by the loss of her brother, she took over as artistic director of the Versace Group­ and went on to cement the iconic label’s place among the fashion heavyweights.

In this month’s issue of PORTER, Donatella makes a case for reclaiming your power through fashion: “It’s a weapon. Though it’s not all about fashion. But when your clothes are desirable, your attitude is too. It’s important to have something to say so that other people want to listen to you. They say that Versace is all about sex and sensuality, but it’s about people choosing to notice you because you look a certain way, so you need to have the voice to go with it.” At the same time, recalling Meghan Markle’s simple—yet graceful—wedding dress, Donatella also extols the virtue of understated elegance.

Favoured by celebrities and socialites the world over, style, sexuality, and empowerment find their nexus in Versace, both in the line and in the woman herself. Donatella embodies the ethos of the brand, and keeps herself in good company. She counts among her friends 80s It Girls Madonna, Cindy Crawford, Elizabeth Hurley, whose bad girl attitudes and rock ‘n’ roll styles were infused into the bedrock of the Versace aesthetic.

Weighing in on the recent deluge of sexual harassment allegations in Hollywood, Donatella reminds girls everywhere to not be afraid to assert themselves: “This climate of harassment and #MeToo is not about sexuality. It is about power. People who have been attacked have been so by people in positions of power. Now it is about taking that power back to yourself and not letting anyone take it from you.”

Well into her 60s, the matriarch of the Versace empire remains an inspiration to the modern woman.


Image credit: NET-A-PORTER