More than any plunging jungle-print dress or slit-up-to-there jersey gown, Donatella Versace’s greatest creation is undoubtedly herself. Having once noted that “natural” is for vegetables, the extravagant, figure-flaunting fashion icon serves as both mistress and muse to the family brand, instilling every aspect—from design conception to ad campaigns—with her ultra-glamorous sensibilities. The glossy monograph Versace (Rizzoli) offers an intimate look at her integral role in the company through personal images and essays by friends, including W’s Stefano Tonchi. Donatella began her career as the right hand to her older brother Gianni, who was killed in 1997, leaving her holding the creative reins. In fact, it was Gianni who, enamored with the ice-blonde singer Patty Pravo, encouraged his then 11-year-old sister to bleach her hair a similar shade. As the late editor Ingrid Sischy put it, “She never looked back.”
A Look Back at Donatella Versace’s Blonde Ambition
Atelier Versace fall/winter 2012, July 2012 at the Hotel Ritz, Paris. Donatella Versace backstage with models Zuzanna Bijoch, Ella Kandyba, Vika Falileeva, Nimue Smit, Lindsey Wixon, Stef Van der Laan, Elza Luijendijk, Aymeline Valade, Anna Selezneva, Kate King, Karlie Kloss, and Ginta Lapina.
Santo, Donatella, and Gianni Versace photographed at Villa Fontanelle, Moltrasio, Lake Como, 1987.
Donatella Versace, spring/summer 2016.
The Versace family photographed at Villa Fontanelle, Moltrasio, Lake Como, late ’80s.
Atelier Versace F/W 2014 backstage, Paris.
Donatella Versace with the models Scott Barnhill and Ivan de Pineda during the fittings of the Versace men’s spring/summer 2016 show.