donatella ver­sace

The liv­ing fash­ion leg­end un­veils her mod­ern vi­sion for menswear

DA MAN - Style - - Contents -


With a troop of phys­i­cally fit mod­els march­ing down the run­way, some sport­ing silken ban­danas, Ver­sace Men’s spring/sum­mer 2016 show was evoca­tive as ever. Bold col­ors, sharp sil­hou­ettes and eye­catch­ing ac­ces­sories, all played key roles to en­hanc­ing the pres­ence of a Ver­sace man: One who walks while ex­ud­ing self- con­trol and con­fi­dence and, at the same time, com­mand­ing at­ten­tion. But deep down, the very core un­der­neath those fine ex­te­rior lay­ers is, and has al­ways been about, power.

For Donatella Ver­sace, the un­flinch­ing pil­lar of the famed Ital­ian fash­ion house, the ex­er­cise of power is wo­ven into ev­ery­thing she does: from her un­abashed, char­ac­ter­ful de­signs to her de­ci­sive con­trol over the com­pany’s di­rec­tion. She is one who doesn’t take no for an an­swer; one whose thirst for life and fash­ion is un­quench­able. For al­most two decades af­ter her beloved brother’s death, this ir­re­press­ible boss lady still stands strong and struts with an at­ti­tude that im­me­di­ately puts past doubters to shame.

Along with her in­ces­sant cre­ativ­ity and forwardlooking out­look is an evolv­ing pic­ture of mod­ern men shown through the Ver­sace Men’s col­lec­tion sea­son af­ter sea­son. To call a Ver­sace man sim­ply chic could be quite an un­der­state­ment, for Donatella Ver­sace doesn’t think the way other de­sign­ers do. For this sea­son alone, this ideal and pow­er­ful man is an ad­ven­turer in where he trav­els and what he wears— note the Mid­dle East­ern in­flu­ences on dis­play—but, more than any­thing, he’s got the power.

DA MAN: In the spring/sum­mer ’16 col­lec­tion, there is a play of pro­por­tions that seems to defy the typ­i­cal bold­ness of Ver­sace and sends a sub­tler kind of manly sex­i­ness in­stead. Can you elab­o­rate on the in­spi­ra­tion for this col­lec­tion?

Donatella Ver­sace: There are so many dif­fer­ent ways in which a man can ex­press his sex­u­al­ity. From the very be­gin­ning, Ver­sace has cel­e­brated the male body with our tai­lor­ing. I love the power of a man in a suit, and this sea­son I wanted to take our strong sil­hou­ette and strip it of con­struc­tion, to make a suit for the way men live their lives to­day. There is a new flu­id­ity to the wide pants and draped lay­ers that ex­presses a more dra­matic and sen­sual side of mas­culin­ity. For me, one of the great plea­sures of de­sign­ing menswear is to ex­plore the com­plex­i­ties of the Ver­sace man, with all his dif­fer­ent emo­tions and at­ti­tudes.

DA: Scott Barn­hill, one of the most iconic male mod­els, opened the run­way show. How im­por­tant are the mod­els and per­son­al­i­ties to you?

DV: It was so much fun hav­ing Scott back on the Ver­sace cat­walk. And not only him, also Ivan de Pineda. They are some of the true icons of Ver­sace, and I loved how he still has the same pres­ence and power on the run­way to­day. In all of my mod­els, I look for in­di­vid­u­al­ity and strength. As soon as they walk in the door of my stu­dio, I know if they’ve got it. There’s some en­ergy they em­anate, a love of life and con­fi­dence on their own per­son­al­ity. Be­lieve in your­self, and you are im­me­di­ately a man of Ver­sace.

DA: Who are your male muses at the mo­ment?

DV: Right now, my muses are the men I see out on the street. I love how men dress to­day, mix­ing to­gether smart with ca­sual, and cre­at­ing their own look. I love the In­ter­net, be­cause now I can see how men are dress­ing up all over the world, and how men love to de­fine them­selves with their own style. When I design my col­lec­tions at Ver­sace, I think about men from all dif­fer­ent coun­tries. To me, fash­ion is global, and it

makes me so ex­cited to push for­ward to cre­ate the new Ver­sace world.

DA: How do you put your­self in a man’s shoes when putting to­gether the menswear col­lec­tion?

DV: I love men. I love to be sur­rounded by them, to get to know them and the way that they see the world. De­sign­ing menswear is so much fun for me, be­cause I get to en­ter their lives and to think about what works for them right now and in the fu­ture. The dif­fer­ences be­tween our men’s and women’s col­lec­tions are clear, but no mat­ter who we are de­sign­ing for, ev­ery­thing that we do has to be pure Ver­sace.

DA: Ver­sace is a house with a re­spected legacy, but at the same it con­tin­u­ously pushes the bound­aries and re­de­fines moder­nity. How do you bal­ance “legacy” and “moder­nity” in your col­lec­tions?

DV: Be­ing bold and brave is at the heart of the Ver­sace DNA, which means it’s in our na­ture to al­ways be chal­leng­ing the way things are. For me, menswear is all about tak­ing tra­di­tions and push­ing them into

the fu­ture. It’s in ev­ery­thing we do, whether it be the con­struc­tion of our gar­ments, mak­ing them lighter and eas­ier to wear, or the at­ti­tude with which we put the looks to­gether. It’s in the mix of for­mal and in­for­mal, or the way we can pro­voke men to be more dar­ing with their style and look.

DA: How do you see cur­rent de­vel­op­ments in the menswear in­dus­try?

DV: It’s amaz­ing to see how men in the 21st cen­tury have be­come so pas­sion­ate about fash­ion and style. For young men to­day, it’s nat­u­ral to ex­press them­selves through their looks, and to ex­plore their per­son­al­ity through cloth­ing. To me, it feels just like the be­gin­ning of a new era in menswear, es­pe­cially as these young men get older and de­fine them­selves in the decades to come. At Ver­sace, what mat­ters most is to give this man as many op­tions as pos­si­ble for him to find his own style, whether it’s a ca­sual zip-up jacket, the per­fect pair of jeans, a suit or an iconic Ver­sace stud­ded leather jacket. Men to­day want to ex­per­i­ment with their look, and we love that they can do it with Ver­sace.

DA: An on­go­ing menswear trend that has been echoed by var­i­ous design houses for sev­eral sea­sons is gen­der­less clothes. What is your take on this par­tic­u­lar move­ment?

DV: My pas­sion in life is equal­ity. Ver­sace has al­ways stood for free­dom and the right to truly be your­self, no mat­ter who you are. I love how so many el­e­ments of to­day’s wardrobe are shared be­tween men and women, like the ur­ban uni­form of a zip-up bomber jacket, worn with a sweat­shirt, jeans, sneak­ers and a back­pack. For me, gen­der­less clothes are not a trend, but a change in the way young peo­ple live their lives, and I find it so ex­cit­ing to see hap­pen. DA: Ver­sace pro­duces more than five col­lec­tions per year, and that doesn’t even in­clude your other line, Ver­sus Ver­sace. How do you man­age your time work­ing on all of the col­lec­tions? DV: I would be so bored if I did any less! I love fash­ion, and am at my hap­pi­est in my design stu­dio, work­ing with my in­cred­i­ble team. Young peo­ple come


from all over the world to work at Ver­sace, and it’s my priv­i­lege to spend time with them and share our cre­ativ­ity. I ac­tu­ally get bored very quickly, and as soon as one show is fin­ished, I can’t wait to get started on another. I can’t un­der­stand why any­one com­plains about the amount of work in fash­ion—to me, it’s all such a plea­sure.

DA: Can you de­scribe what hap­pens in your typ­i­cal work­ing day?

DV: There is no such thing as a typ­i­cal day! I try to get busi­ness done first thing in the morn­ing so that my mind can be free to cre­ate. My sched­ule is al­ways su­per-busy, and I am very de­ci­sive. Once I have made a de­ci­sion, that’s it. I like to fin­ish the day with ev­ery­thing well done, so the next day can start anew. Those are the things that are typ­i­cal to my days. So, in essence, what I’m ac­tu­ally do­ing is al­ways dif­fer­ent and al­ways ex­cit­ing.

DA: Lastly, what is in the pipe­line for both you and Ver­sace at the moemnt?

DV: We have so many ex­cit­ing projects and de­vel­op­ments hap­pen­ing right now at Ver­sace! Do you know the best place to find out about them all? Fol­low us on Instagram: @do­natel­la_ ver­sace and @ver­sace_ of­fi­cial.

Donatella ver­sace

back­stage at the ver­sace Men spring/ sum­mer 2016 show

from left Mod­ern pair­ing of bomber jacket and long cardi­gan; model ivan de Pineda in ara­bian-in­spired out­fit; model

Scott Barn­hill open­ing the show

clock­wise a small sling bag with a catchy bag charm; one of the sea­son's ac­cent pat­terned suit; shades of purple and watch cuff worn over a suit op­po­site page ver­sace Men S/S ’16 run­way fi­nale

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