Donatella Versace’s Milan
Platinum Madonna of Italian fashion, the iconic Donatella Versace has a very special relationship with her adopted hometown of Milan. She shares with us some of her favourite addresses in the city that’s not only her home, but which also inspires her.
Numéro: What’s your favourite neighbourhood in Milan and why?
Donatella Versace : Milan is a city that’s full of secrets. While certain Italian cities parade their assets – the splendour of Rome, for example, or the beauty of Venice – Milan tends to hide. Its beauty is tucked away behind doors, in galleries, in museums, in meeting places. I don’t have a particular neighbourhood I like best because for me the city is a whole, a tapestry of fabulous places.
As someone who travels a lot, what’s the first thing you do when you get back to Milan?
I see my friends and family. Milan is a city where conviviality is paramount, and my happiest times are those I spend with the people I love. My home is the place where I can really relax, be myself, and free myself from the stresses of work.
What does Milan have that other cities don’t?
I’m proud of being the creative director of an international brand whose headquarters are in Milan. I really believe in the new generation. I can feel a new spirit in the city, a passion that goes beyond fashion, a broader idea of culture.
How does Milan influence the Versace style?
Milan inspires me as soon as I step outside in the morning – the way women dress when taking their kids to school, or at work, or when they go out at night. All the subtle details through which Milanese women express their independence and self- confidence through their clothing.
Shopping : Versace – Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
I’m very attached to our boutique in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, because it’s one of the city’s historic buildings. Not only did we open a store under the gallery’s magnificent dome, we also took part in its restoration. I’m very proud of having helped to restore the splendour of such great architecture.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milano
School : Marangoni
Young talent is very important to me. I support the young generation of fashion designers and help them take their first steps in the industry. Marangoni is a design school that produces a lot of new talent. It’s wonderful to be able to welcome to the Versace studio young creators who studied just a few streets away.
Via Pietro Verri 4, 20121 Milano
Art : HangarBicocca
If I ever I need time to think and to lose myself in my thoughts, I go to the HangarBicocca. It’s an extraordinary institution, a space dedicated to art on the edge of the city and which houses a sublime installation by Anselm Kiefer. Walking among his towers brings on a feeling of profound respect for his extraordinary work. I really liked the Carsten Höller show this summer, and I’m always excited when the Bicocca curators allow me to discover an artist whose work I haven’t seen before.
Via Chiese 2, 20126 Milano
Old masters : The Cenacolo Vinciano (for Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper)
It’s amazing the number of fashion editors who come to Milan twice a year but have never seen The Last Supper. Perhaps we should add it to the runway-show programme! It’s one of the world’s masterpieces, a painting that commands silence and admiration. You have to book in advance to see it, but you won’t regret the effort.
Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie 2, 20123 Milano
Art gallery : Galleria Lia Rumma
Milan’s art scene is so exciting at the moment. This is one of my favourite galleries, and you only have to look at the list of artists who’ve had shows there to understand why: Marina Abramovic, Vanessa Beecroft, Michelangelo Pistoletto among countless others. I loved the incredible show by William Kentridge earlier this year.
Via Stilicone 19, 20154 Milano
Hi-fi : Bang & Olufsen
It’s one of my biggest secrets: I’m a real music geek. I need to be able to listen to music anywhere and everywhere, and I can’t use just any old loudspeakers. The Bang & Olufsen store in Milan is my secret playground, I always go there when I need to improve my sound system. I drive them crazy, they’re always making me try out their best basses and I always ask them to turn the volume up as loud as it will go.
Corso Garibaldi 2, 20121 Milano
Design : Galleria Rossana Orlandi
What an inspiration! The Galleria Rossana Orlandi is the beating heart of independent interior design and furnishings in Milan, where everything is selected by its extraordinary owner. It’s the ideal place to find new ideas, from giant dream objects to sublime little craft creations. This gallery is an oasis in the bustling city.
Via Matteo Bandello 14-16, 20123 Milano
Old masters : Castello Sforzesco (for the Pietà Rondanini)
Michelangelo’s Pietà Rondanini is a work that leaves me speechless each time I see it. He spent so much time on it and was still working on it at the very end of his life. Exhibited at the Castello Sforzesco, you can observe it from every angle. I could spend hours contemplating it, and every time I see it I discover a new detail to admire.
Piazza Castello, 20121 Milano
Eating : Peck
In Milan, food is a religion. Every time we have a Versace meeting and not much time for lunch, I order out at Peck Milano. When food reaches such a degree of perfection, what need is there for frills? At Peck Milano, it’s simple and delicious.
Via Spadari 9, 20123 Milano
Opera : Teatro alla Scala
A place where you can experience real passion in Milan and lose yourself in the drama and beauty of the greatest operas in the world. When I work, I always think of the future, of what the Versace women needs in her life which is in constant evolution. But I think of La Scala when I need to remember the traditions and the glorious past that made us who we are today.
Via Filodrammatici 2, 20121 Milano
For the peace and quiet : The courtyard of the Palazzo Versace
One of the places I love best in Milan isn’t open to the public. It’s the courtyard of the Palazzo Versace in the Via Gesù. A place of peace and splendour, it brings back so many memories and makes me very proud of my family.
Via Gesù 12, 20121 Milano
Interview by Léa Zetlaoui