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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > January 2019 > KEEPING THE DREAM ALIVE


When you get the chance to interview Donatella Versace, you want to send someone who understands fashion, who understands class, who understands diversity. We told Jodie Harsh to pack her bags and get the hell to Milan…
Donatella wears all clothing throughout, by Atelier Versace
Photography Vijat Mohindra

No brand symbolises luxury and fabulosity quite like the house of Versace. For four decades, the Italian super-brand’s lashy prints and gold Medusa head logo have become a symbol of extravagance and high living. It celebrates the finer things in life, but uncompromising quality also makes up its DNA. And the woman at its centre is a living legend, whose name connotes power and exudes authority. We’re in Milan to meet Donatella Versace. The location is her late brother Gianni’s home, an opulent place that remains untouched since his death in 1997.

While we wait for Donatella to arrive, we sip coffee from the brand’s own espresso cups, and eat cakes freshly baked by Gianni’s personal chef, who still cooks for the family. The apartment is vast and grand, but also warm and welcoming. There’s a bodyguard who’s so handsome he could be in a Versace fashion show, and a big team buzz around. There are candles burning, fresh lowers can be seen everywhere and there are statues and pillars. It’s all very Versace.

When Gianni was murdered in Miami by serial killer Andrew Cunanan, the tragedy shocked the world, not just the fashion community. But while mourning her brother, Donatella took the reins at Versace and three months later put on a fashion show — because in Donatella’s world, the show must go on.

This year may mark the brand’s 40th anniversary, but it also means Donatella has been the driving force behind the brand for longer than its founder. It’s clear that it’s a bitter-sweet fact for her as she shares fond childhood memories of Gianni during our interview.

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About Attitude

On the cover: Fashion queen Donatella Versace! American Horror Star Cheyenne Jackson! Plus: Christeene’s alternative Xmas message, life after decriminalisation in India, Simon Callow, Canada’s Two-Spirit community.