“This collection is a Tribute to the life and works of Gianni. We pay homage to not only his artistic genius but to who he was as a man, and above all, as my brother. Gianni was an exceptional person for how he celebrated each day as though it was extraordinary and for how he always approached life with a smile on his lips. Each year Gianni lived, he lived to its fullest: throughout his career, he created collections that to this day are considered a cultural point of reference and inspiration to many. It would be impossible to commemorate Gianni’s entire world in a single collection, therefore, I have decided to honor his legacy with his beloved prints and dazzling metal mesh. This collection is for you, Gianni.”

Donatella Versace

At the age of 26, Gianni Versace – a young boy was born in Reggio Calabria, officially join in the fashion industry in Milan in 1972. After the time working for Genny, Callaghan and Complice, Gianni introduced his first ready-to-wear collection for women in 1978. Since then, he has started to build a powerful empire called Versace in the fashion world. The items feature the iconic Medusa head (Versace’s logo) – from clothing, shoes, accessories, to perfume and cosmetics, is hunted and owned by women.

Gianni Versace is called by the title “The designer of royalty and celebrities”, has designed many costumes for Princess Diane, The King of Pop Michael Jackson, Elion John, Tina Turner, Elizabeth Hurley and Diva Madonna. Versace’s sexy, bold and irresistible dresses are quickly captured the eyes of suggestive lady. Through his own designed, he has created a new concept in the fashion world – “Put on what makes you beautiful and confident”.

Not only famous for his glamorous and engaging style, Versace is also known for his unusual materials like aluminum mesh or advanced techniques such as the “neo-culture” laser technology to combine leather and rubber. 1989 marked a milestone in his career when Gianni released his first couture collection. Later, he brought to the fashion world two more lines Versus and Instante in the 1990s

Gianni Versace's creative talent is recognized not only by the fashionista from all over the world, but also prestige fashion associations. This is most evident in prestigious awards such as the four L'Occhio d'Oros Awards and the American Fashion Awards of the CFDA in 1993 for Gianni's outstanding contributions to fashion.

In September 2017, guests at the Triennale Museum in Milan were reunited with Gianni Versace once again through the 2018 Spring – Summer show hosted by Gianni's sister Donatella Versace. The collection marks the 20-year anniversary of the fateful fortune going on forever, leaving the fancy world a great mourn. The collection - according to Donatella's words, "is a tribute to the life and the creativity of talented designer Gianni Versace. We pay tribute to not only an artistic genius but also to a Man, my respectable brother. Gianni Versace is an extremely special person. I cannot forget how he always has a smile on his face when faced off anything in life. "

Harper’s Bazaar: The Versace Spring Sumer 2018 show was like a time machine which brought us back to the old times. How would you describe the rationale behind the collection?

Donatella Versace: The rationale was to celebrate the life and work of my brother Gianni. I never wanted it to be a retrospective or a nostalgic operation, but rather the contrary. I wanted to convey the joy and the love that my brother had for his job and his life and in that way celebrate his legacy. Thinking about it now, I think I created this collection more with my heart than with my brain. And not just my love. The love everybody put in it. The love I put in the selection of the prints and all the looks, the love of the people who watched the show, the love of old friends like Naomi, Claudia, Eva, Carla, Cindy: they were all there to support me, yes, but most importantly to pay an homage to Gianni.  

Harper’s Bazaar: Why would you decide to do this Tribute Collection during SS 2018 fashion week?

Donatella Versace: There are many reasons, you know… I have been thinking about it, about doing a Tribute to my brother Gianni, for a long time, but until now I did not feel ready to do it. I did it now because I feel stronger, more confident. Plus I have noticed a lot of interest in my brother’s creations lately… Young top models have been asking me where they could find his vintage pieces, so I said to myself why don’t I give them the chance to directly experience his genius through my eyes, to tell them his story. Young people live through images and stories and this is why – I think – this show made such an impact. For the first time, they were seeing in person what was that Gianni Versace had done. However, I want also to say that along with his archive looks, the majority of the collection was created with the eyes of today and made of new pieces using the prints of Gianni. 

Harper’s Bazaar: Back to the show, how amazing of gathering such original star-studded models in the show. What do you remember about those women who captivated the world? 

Donatella Versace: They are such charismatic women and I have so many memories with them! But I can try to tell you the first thing that comes to my mind for each of them… Carla has always been the most open minded one, Claudia the most precise: she has always hated last minute changes. But when she was walking the catwalk she shined like the sun. I have always loved how Cindy’s careless sensuality: she was never scared or afraid she show the world the “body”… Naomi is the fierce one, Helena the wittiest!

Harper’s Bazaar: If Gianni were there, what do you think he would say about the show?

Donatella Versace: I think he would be happy about it. He wouldn’t say anything, he would just look at me and smile with that you-did-the-right-thing expression. When you love somebody and you have a perfect feeling, like we did, you don’t need to talk. Looking in the eyes is enough.

Harper’s Bazaar: Do you have any difficulties on taking care of the fashion house for 20 years?

Donatella Versace: Of course, especially at beginning it was not easy. The After Gianni was taken away from us so brutally, for a long time I felt I had to prove myself somehow, that I would always be compared to him. Probably I was my own strongest difficulty. I constantly felt the judgment of the world on me, and most of all, my own judgment. I’m very hard with myself. Like I was not good enough for the job. It took me so long to fully embrace his legacy and fully disclose its potential. I don’t remember exactly when, but at a certain point I asked myself: if Gianni has always trusted me, then why I shouldn’t trust myself in this?

Still, I happen to have doubts about my work. But doubt is not an enemy. To question yourself makes you stronger and keeps you fresh. I might not always be perfect, but as Gianni though me, it’s vital to take risks, to try to push boundaries. That’s what Versace does. And Versace is my blood, in my DNA.

Harper’s Bazaar: The definition of “Femininity” nowadays are far different from them of the 90s. How can Versace carry the core value of brand into modern life and win their young audiences' attention?

Donatella Versace: You see, Versace has always been about the excitement of the future, of the youth and new. It’s at the core for us. We are not afraid to change, to see what is yet to come. It was true with my brother and it’s still true with me. Versace will always be one of the world’s most important luxury fashion brands. The Versace look will always be instantly recognizable. But Versace will also always evolve, always change, and always be excited about the future, ready respond to the new generation’s needs.