Donatella Versace is one of the most recognizable faces in the fashion world. She oversees the global business for one of the world’s most famous fashion and lifestyle brands. On this week’s TALK ASIA, Donatella takes CNN’s Anjali Rao exclusively backstage twenty minutes before the label’s first fashion show in China. She then sits down with Rao and explains what life after her brother Gianni’s passing was like for her and the business and how she took the Versace company in her own direction beyond just clothing. Donatella also discusses the growing appetite for Versace in China and reveals what motivates her to link her show to charity whilst also providing a few of her personal fashion tips.
Donatella Versace draws from many inspirations. She dedicated her Spring/Summer 2009 collection to President-elect Barack Obama “for his mind more than his person” and for her ‘first’ fashion show in China she was motivated to do the show in aid of the earthquake victims in Sichuan because of what she saw: “I was very very touched by what I saw…”
On expanding her business in China and the market there, she is aware that it is different from any other country she’s been in. She says: “Chinese people view fashion in a different way from other people. They want the real thing They want the real picture.” The brand’s commitment to the market there is something she’s proud of: “Versace was one of the first brands, if not the first brand to open a shop in China. It was in 1979, so nobody else was here. Versace was the first brand, Italian brand to open in China.”
Donatella Versace sees fashion as constantly evolving and since her brother Gianni’s days when everything was ‘louder’ and ‘sexy’ and ‘revealing’ she took the company in a direction she calls her own: “glamour, femininity and sensuality in a more sophisticated way, in a more toned down way, but still sexy.” She reminisces about times when Versace was credited with inventing the supermodel concept and bringing fashion to life on the runway.
On her brother Gianni, she talks about the dynamic between them and how much love they had for one another. Born into a tight Italian family Donatella Versace said: “when Gianni became a big fashion star I was the only one who told him the truth.” His passing threw her and her family into immense grief: “It was very very hard for me, for my family, for my children. For everybody because Gianni was more than a brother. We were always together.” With the world’s eyes on her and what her intentions was going to be for the business, Donatella Versace admits how she struggled in the beginning: “I made my mistakes in the beginning because I didn’t know if I follow exactly Gianni’s steps or find my own way and I was you know suffering from my brothers death.” but eventually came through: “So I had to keep this strong face, and be sure of myself and must go on.”
Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore and Taipei :
Wednesday, December 3 at 2200
Thursday, December 4 at 1200
Saturday, December 5 at 2330
Monday, December 7 at 1100
Bangkok and Jakarta:
Wednesday, December 3 at 2100
Thursday, December 4 at 1100
Saturday, December 5 at 2230
Monday, December 7 at 1000