Before the show in L.A., Donatella Versace talks to LGBTQ+ community
This Monday morning in Los Angeles, 200 guests from the fashion and LGBTQ+ community were waiting in front of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, wearing Versace outfits to welcome Donatella Versace, the chief creative officer of Versace, four days before the big show planned in Hollywood.
After the welcome around a glass of mimosa and a filling breakfast, Joe Hollendoner, CEO of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, invited guests to the Renberg Theatre to attend "a conversation with Donatella Versace", an event organized by the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA).
"Donatella is iconic and magical," said Hollendoner. "Donatella is so beloved by LGBTQ+ people. With her, there is no shame, there is only the truth. And within that truth, a reminder: it's when we live authentically, that we live beautifully."
After a tour of the center, and the organization of a fashion masterclass with CFDA designers Sergio Hudson and Pia Davis of No Sesso, provided for young people enrolled in the Center's Youth Academy, Donatella Versace appeared in a green dress, perched on high heels.
After a standing ovation, Donatella Versace spoke about the partnership between the Versace Foundation and the CFDA based on LGBT-focused educational initiative and celebrated the launch of a new scholarship for LGBT fashion design students.
"I always believed in the power of young creatives," said Donatella. "Young people want to learn about fashion and we are here to help them. The paths of young people in the LGBT community are sometimes complicated, and many deserve a better chance in life. I have been surrounded by many people around me but the LGBT community has not always been welcome in our society. My role is to support this natural family, my brothers and sisters."
Looking back on the terrible HIV pandemic and her role as an activist, and later as a patron of the Elton John's AIDS Foundation, Donatella spoke of the influence of her brother, Gianni, who was murdered in 1997, in supporting the LGBT community.
"When I was 11 years old, Gianni told me two things: the first to dye my hair blonde, the second that he was gay. I grew up in Calabria, in an environment not very open to gays, and I always supported him for being different. He wanted me around him, I followed him everywhere. I am here because of him."
A commitment that would earn her the role of ambassador of Stonewall by Pride Live in 2019, an organization pushing forward awareness and support for the LGBT community.
Asked about the place of women in the fashion industry, Donatella Versace returned to the period following the death of his brother, "many men of the business came then to tell me what I should do, and judge my work. It was complicated for a long time. Then I gained confidence, I followed my instinct. Today, fortunately, things have changed, the same businessmen are nicer and tell me 'do more, do it, whatever you feel, do it!' Today, Versace employs more than 60% women and 48% of them hold executive positions. I claim my feminist status."
Reviewing the major events of her career, from the unforgettable supermodels show in 2017 with Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Helena Christensen and Carla Bruni, to her friendship with George Michael and Prince, Donatella Versace also commented on the current youth craze for the house of Versace.
"Young people tell me that our clothes make them stronger. A dress is like a suit of armor and protects us. The idea that the Versace wardrobe can bring confidence always makes me happy."
On a final question about the legacy she will leave behind, Donatella concluded, "I don't want to leave a legacy. I want to live!"
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