EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Donatella Versace collaborates with H&M

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Who doesn’t love Versace?

The brand synonymous with rock ‘n’ roll glamour has recently collaborated with Swedish high-street fashion house H&M for a collection set to debut worldwide on Nov. 17. The excitement by fashionistas the world over is palpable. Scroll through any fashion blog whether in Canada or Japan and people are anxiously waiting for the first images of the dresses and jackets set to get women and men’s hearts racing.

Since H&M first started collaborating with luxury fashion brands to produce collections with high street prices, its success has rocketed for “democratizing” fashion as Margaret van den Bosch, creative advisor at H&M, emphasizes in her exclusive interview with Daily News Egypt. One couldn’t agree more. Now men and women with a penchant for designer taste could afford not just a little taste but a big bite of style.

Since the tragic death of Gianni Versace, his sister Donatella has led the house of Versace to go from strength to strength. The studded and tight dresses by Gianni of the 1980s were the outfits of choice for the supermodel pack that included Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer and Linda Evangelista. Today, stars Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and Blake Lively wear beautiful evening gowns to events. Slits sometimes almost hip high elicit a gasp of shock from the press and public but that is what Donatella Versace is brilliant at: enhancing the sensual femininity of a woman with no compromises.

Her collection for H&M includes dresses with elements of iconic Versace motifs: the leather and studs that remind one of Gianni’s work, signature Versace prints with wild patterns of animal print and florals but also bright colors including yellow, pink and red.

A collection for both men and women has been created. Men can select from a choice of slick suits, t-shirts, trousers, shirts, boxers, leather jackets, swimming shorts and accessories. Wing tip shoes in bright pink are also included here —perhaps to match the equally pink suit cut so sharp and suavely?

The women’s collection includes accessories, shoes, dresses, jackets, trousers and various kinds of tops. Floral prints, fringes, bright colors and daring cuts typical of Versace eveningwear have been translated into cocktail wear for this collection by way of short colorful shifts and dresses.

There are also pillows and a bedspread made in a multicolor floral Japanese fan print, allowing fans of the brand name to bring the experience of the Versace lifestyle to their homes.

The collection will surely not only impress the public, but it will also educate a younger demographic of fashion consumers on the house of Versace, and in doing so, perhaps create new fans for a brand not typically identifiable as one for young consumers as much as its reverence by an older group of fashion enthusiasts.

H&M is currently in the process of organizing the logistics and legalities so that the Versace collection can be shipped and debut in stores in Egypt in time for the global launch date. H&M have told Daily News Egypt that it has not yet been confirmed that the collection will be available in Egypt, but that they are currently working on solving the issue with Egyptian customs officials and that is very likely that the collection will be available in stores by Nov. 17.

The prices will range from LE 199 to LE 1,999.

Donatella Versace: A design icon talks with Daily News Egypt

Daily News Egypt: Young women (myself included) have very precise Versace memories and references: Liz Hurley’s dramatic safety pin dress, Jennifer Lopez’s Jungle Dress at the 2000 Grammy’s and the corset evening dresses of 2003 from the Fall ready-to-wear collections. How does this collection for H&M maintain the iconic themes of Versace but as you mentioned in the promotional video, retain a sense of the present for this young generation whom you’re targeting?

Donatella Versace: I love to hear about people’s favorite Versace moments! It’s amazing to think about how Versace has touched so many people’s lives. As soon as H&M asked me to collaborate, I knew that I wanted to do an iconic collection, and I knew that I wanted to do a collection that was relevant to fashion today. I selected all of the iconic moments that also say something about fashion right now, and which will give the young generation to wear the icons of Versace in their own personal style.

How did you approach the menswear collection in terms of themes, designs and construction?

There are many parallels between the men’s and women’s collections, like the gold-studded leather jackets, and the use of prints. But then there are also differences, too. In the men’s collection, tailoring is very important, and I’ve included a sharp suit that is either in black or vivid pink. There is a black and white optical print which is only in the men’s collection, and there are pieces too, like the swim trunks, or the long shorts, which are very specific to menswear. I’m very proud of the whole collection.

What do you think makes a man or women iconic in terms of their fashion sensibilities and styles?

Confidence is the most important factor, always. If a man or a woman is confident about what they wear, and how they wear it, then they can become their own icon.

Have any particular fashion icons influenced the collection you designed for H&M?

The house of Versace is my one icon that will always be with me when I design. The essence of Versace, its DNA, is in my blood, and will always be there.

Pretty skirts and leather jackets with studs are pure Versace glamour. (Photo by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot)


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