Gianni and Donatella Versace with Sting, Trudie Styler and Elton John in 1992
Couture Week is coming, folks! And we're delighted to see Versace back on the schedule after the brand's return to couture this January after a break of eight years. This season's extravaganza will take place at the Ritz Paris, a particularly special place for Donatella Versace. Why? Because the designer's brother Gianni, who died in 1997, began staging his couture shows at the very same hotel back in 1990 and it was there that she last saw her brother.
'I could not think of the last time I saw Gianni, in the lobby of the Ritz, two days before he died,' Donatella tells WWD. 'It’s very important for me to face this. I’m afraid, my nerves are shot, yet I’m excited.'
As are we. So what can we expect to see on the catwalk come Sunday night? 'This is a collection I think [Gianni] would really like — it’s very rich,' the style maven reveals. And it'll be a real treat to see the luxury of Versace following that purse-friendly high-street collection. 'Yes, I did mass market with H&M, but people must not forget couture goes way back for us and how distinctive that is.' Bring on the opulence!
Donatella reveals that the catwalk will be made of aged copper (ooh) and different coloured lights will enhance the choreography (fab), but the stairs will remain covered. 'They represent Gianni’s couture, with his supermodels,' she says. As for the clothes, we can look forward to 25 looks of metallic organza and crystal mesh adorned with leather strips and rose gold buckles. 'I like fluidity a lot now, but also body conscious styles,' she says.
And, of course, we have that Atelier Jewelry collection to look for to. As Grazia Daily reported this week, Versace has created 16 custom-made designs of hand-sculpted rings mounted with precious stones including yellow diamonds, emeralds and sapphires. The designer explains that she is responding to demand with the new collection of couture accessories, which look nothing short of fabulous.
This isn’t Versace's first foray into jewellery — Gianni launched Versace fine jewellery line in 1994 — but Donatella refuses to compare herself to her brother. 'He was a genius, how could I even think of comparing myself to him? But others did,' she says. 'I have my own voice, and for the past two years I have no longer been in fear. I am happy with what I am doing, I believe in it.'
For more from Donatella — including quelling rumours about a possible sale of the family-owned company to her daughter’s involvement on the design front — hop on over to WWD.