Glamouria - Donatella Versace: "Go Big or Go Home!" By Hayat Ammouri

Donatella Versace: "Go Big or Go Home!"
November 03, 2022
Donatella Versace- Interview

The Icon Donatella Versace: “I am a maximalist, so go big or go home!"

Interview: Hayat Ammouri

I grew up dreaming about the beauty and glamour of the nineties supermodels, Cindy, Linda, Helena… and if I kept one image of them, it would have to  be at a Versace show! If you have been following the brand, you have definitely noticed that there has been a new strong energy. Something has shifted, and exactly as I thought it was, Donatella has finally found her confidence. In this interview that I did for Laha Magazine, I tried to get to know the iconic Donatella, not only as a designer, but as a person and a woman.  

Getting to know you….

What is a special memory that you carry in your heart? 

I grew up in Reggio Calabria. My home was in front of the sea and I remember that Gianni and I loved to go and take a look at the antique ruins in the city. That was the beginning of a love story with art and a fascination with history that still last.

Who is the person who had the most impact on you when growing up?

Of course, it was Gianni! 

What (or who) helped you build your self-confidence?

It happened quite recently honestly. For many years I have lived under the pressure of expectations, judgments, wrong advice. Now after so long, I think I have found my own voice and that the brand is where I want it to be. Each mistake, each fall, made me stronger and lead me to where I am today.

Is Donatella Versace at work different from Donatella Versace in real life? How?

I am who I am. What you see is what you get and, to be honest, what is the point of wearing a mask? I have done that for too many years, I wanted to look detached from the world because I was healing and protecting myself. I do not have that need anymore and I am so much happier now that the mask has gone down.

What is happiness to you? Where do you find it?

In the simplest things such as spending time with my family and my dog Audrey, watching Netflix and travelling. 

Qualities you look for in love and friendship?

Honesty, understanding and a good dose of humor.

At the latest show in Milano in February, there was a very tense passionate energy. Where do you get your energy from? How were you able to transfer it to us?

Who knows me, also knows that for me a show is always about the energy, the expectation, the crowd and the audience on top of the collection. I’m Italian, I love passion! I have always fed off music for vibrancy and inspiration, and to make connections with what is really happening on the street. Choosing the right soundtrack for the shows is a way of expressing these feelings. 

Versace The Brand…

Did the Versace woman change over the years? How?

Of course it has, as the society has evolved. The Versace woman has always had a stronger femininity that transpires not only from her clothes but also from her words and behavior. She’s inclusive, but also ironic, able to not take yourself too seriously, authentic…The Versace woman is powerful, confident, not afraid to show her inner self through her style choices. It is not just a matter of how she looks, it is down to her attitude and her mind. She has a voice. For me, it stands for fearlessness, power, being strong and unafraid. Confidence is key!

How do you define your own style?

I am a maximalist, so go big or go home! There’s one thing I’ll never give up in my outfits, and that is my high heels. They have definitely remained a constant in my personal style! 

How can a woman find her style?

I think that the choice of what to wear always says something about who we are, therefore, there are no fixed rules. Just be yourself and you’ll find your own, unique style. 

How important are accessories to complete our look and how important are they for Versace? How involved are you in creating them?

Accessories are extremely important, they define your style. When I choose a bag, besides the aesthetic and quality of the materials used, I also consider when I will use it and most of all, if it suits me. Let’s think of La Medusa bag, for example. From the beginning, I wanted to create a versatile family of bags: there’s the top-handle version, the cross body, but also the mini and the rounded bucket style. Something for everyone!

How should a woman approach all the fierce colors and cuts we saw on the runway for FW22?

For my women’s Fall-Winter 2022 collection, I wanted an exciting and diverse casting to perfectly represent a Versace with new generation attitude. In fact, the Versace woman for Fall-Winter 2022 has a powerful and seductive sense of mystery, shifting in and out of sight. With unapologetic certainty she fully owns her allure and knows exactly when to unleash her power!

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Life is my inspiration! I am inspired by everything around me, in particular if it’s an urban contemporary movement. This means it could be art, a film, an actor or actress, definitely music or just a person walking down the street. I like to observe what guys wear in the streets as well as what they post on their social media. Then I bring this idea, this inspiration, to my design team and we work together on it to develop it and create something that might become completely different but always very Versace. We like to tear things apart and put them back together in a new, unexpected way and see what happens.

Versace is now at the top!!! What are you proudest of?

I am proud that, together with my team, we have made Versace part of today’s cultural conversation that speaks beyond fashion itself. I think that this means that our work has inspired people, supported communities…we have dared, broken the rules and yet remained at the top!

What more can we expect? How is the brand evolving? 

My aim is to keep on evolving the codes of Versace with the eyes of today and making them relevant for the society we live in.

Are you thinking about entering the metaverse or are there any NFT plans?

I think that the metaverse is something that has to be explored. My team and I are still learning about this universal virtual world but I am happy to embrace new ideas if they fit the world of Versace. I am fascinated by technology, and I love to get to know all the newest and coolest experiences. 

What is your personal ultimate dream?

I am living it!


How do you choose the women you work with, the women you choose to represent Versace? JLO/ Gigi/ Naomi/ Bella/ all the supermodels in the 90’s- what do they all have in common? How do they fit the Versace brand?

They are women who inspire people, they inspire positive change, they fight for what they believe in. I always get inspired by women who stand together and fight for their rights, who are self-confident, strong, supportive of one another and that are not afraid to speak their minds.

What do you think about women in the Middle East? How do you like their style?

There is an elegance in the way women dress, walk, behave. A grace that is not loud yet is very powerful. What I love about the women of the Middle East is that unique way of behaving that exudes a great self-confidence and at the same time a surprising humility. We have a lot to learn from them.

What is strength for you?

It is the freedom to be oneself.

Who would you define a strong woman?

There are so many and they are completely different from one another. Dua Lipa and Yara Shahidi or Meena Harris to Greta Thunberg. These women are self-confident, aware of who they are, inclusive and supportive of other women, but also ironic and authentic.

Advice you give to young girls who are facing pressure and insecurities in our century?

Never give up!

What are the “causes” in life that are closest to your heart?

There are so many issues being raised at the moment: the pandemic of course but also human rights, peace, environment, technology, discrimination and inclusivity...Nowadays, it is not just the message that matters, but the actions connected to it that turn words into something concrete and authentic that people look at and care for. Fashion, being a mirror of society, is taking it all in and I am doing my best to include all these changes in the way I lead my company. 

Just For Fun…

Your Motto in life: Never give up!

Your daily guilty pleasure: Listening to music very loud.

Always in your Versace bag: A good moisturizer, my iPhone and a pair of sunglasses.

Color of Happiness: Blonde!

Never leave without: Heels of course.

The word you say the most: I love it!


Best thing to do: A weekend to the lake. 

Best place to visit: La Scala in Milan - it’s a memorable treat while in Milan. The best performances, beautiful backdrops…this is a must do when visiting Milan.

Best piece of art: The Last Supper.

Best vacation spot: Rome, Venice, Florence. 

Favourite Italian Dish: How can you choose only one?

What Do You Think?
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