Complex Made Simple

Donatella Versace: The luxury designer

When recently asked what she is looking forward to most this summer, Donatella Versace said recently, “Absolute peace, absolute privacy and absolute pleasure with my family and friends.”

But the Italian designer is in Paris this weekend to present her fall 2015 couture collection –where she is sure to experience the opposite of rest and relaxation with loved ones. “When I am in Paris for Atelier Versace,” she says, “life is a whirlwind. There is so much to perfect and ensure that every single detail is how I want it to be.”

In the days leading up to her runway show, Versace took a quiet moment to share her own fashion rules, beauty secrets and the responsibility she feels as a designer.

Describe your personal style and who has influenced or continues to influence it.
My rules of style are very personal. Most days I wear black, either a fine-knit black sweater or a black tank in the summer. I like to wear black pants, whether they are tailored, denim or leather. My heels are always high. When I am on the red carpet, I wear Atelier Versace. I am sure that there are changes each season; some might be obvious and driven by the Versace catwalk, others that I am not even aware of. But I also like to break my rules and wear colour and prints.

How do you distinguish your personal style from your style as a designer?
My name is Versace. There will always be elements of my personal style in my shows, because it is in my DNA. If a show did not feel like Versace, I could not take my bow at the end. But when I am designing, I am thinking about a whole Versace universe, dreams and desires. Atelier Versace is the ultimate and it is also a particular responsibility. Our client expects only the best and it is up to us to create pieces that make her look and feel the best she has ever been.

Is there a beauty product you can’t live without and how do you feel about regimes?
I have seen many beauty regimes come and go. For me, the best beauty regime is always laughter, happiness and sleep.

In what ways do you feel exercising restraint is important … or the opposite of what you should do?
Never, ever show restraint in expressing love to your family and friends. Be fearless and confident in dressing, but also learn when to stop. When I am designing, I push myself and my team to create something extraordinary and new, but I always make sure there is pleasure in the work. Music is always playing. I love to hear my team laughing and joking. We are a family and we do everything we can to make ourselves proud.

And what would you say is the ultimate luxury?
Time is the ultimate luxury – the time to spend with my family and my friends, the time to work and to satisfy myself creatively, the time to see new things and to push myself forward. But the ultimate, ultimate luxury is Versace, of course.

© The New York Times 2015