Q&A with Donatella Versace
“I love extremes” says Donatella Versace, which is exactly why the Italian designer decided to take her brand of high-octane glamour to the masses with her collection for H&M, which was launched few years ago.
THE PRINTS AND EMBELLISHMENTS IN THIS COLLECTION FEEL VERY ICONIC. ARE THEY FROM THE VERSACE ARCHIVES?
The prints are one of the most important parts of the Versace heritage. For H&M, we have used my prints as well as Gianni’s prints. From the mid-’90s we have used the palm tree print, and also the Miami print. And from Versace today we have used my ‘techno Japan’ print. Nobody does printed jeans, so I thought, Why not? There is also the sequin and fringe dress, which uses a print that the artist Jim Dine created for the house in the ’90s. I like the contrast between the exuberance of the prints and the classicism of the crepe dresses with gold buttons.
ARE THERE PARTICULAR COLLECTIONS FROM VERSACE’S HISTORY THAT YOU DREW UPON FOR THIS COLLABORATION?
One of my favourites is the metal mesh dress. Gianni was the first to use metal mesh in fashion. I remember when I first saw what he had created; I was on set with the photographer Richard Avedon – one of the world’s greatest, because Gianni only ever worked with the best, just like myself. There was this group picture of 15 models all lying on pillows, all wearing metal mesh dresses. When Avedon and I saw it, we said to each other, ‘Wow, what is this?’ It was Gianni’s cutting that made metal mesh look soft and romantic. It was difficult, but he did it. And the way the metal mesh drapes in the H&M collection is just beautiful.
WHO ARE THE VERSACE ICONS?
There are so many. One of the most iconic moments was when Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, and Cindy Crawford were on the catwalk together. George Michael was singing ‘Freedom’. Everybody remembers that show. Or when Jennifer Lopez wore the palm print dress. There are always new icons of Versace. Angelina Jolie wearing an incredible couture gown and Lady Gaga wearing a studded leather archive look. You have all these extremes.