International Award

“Some people are born royal. Some become Queens on their own.” Whether intended or not, the collection statement for Versace’s terrific fall-winter collection also made a statement about Donatella Versace herself.

Now designing Versace for two decades, she has been a true force, reigning fashion with a seductive mix of fearlessness, power, and strength, and, this being Versace, abundant glamour. She burst onto the scene as Gianni Versace’s best friend, co-conspirator and muse, who was initially in charge of the Versus collection before she became Versace’s artistic director after her brother’s death. Donatella has brought a unique voice to the house, channeling the street and couture into collections that are empowering to women like herself. Whether she riffs on punk, religion, medusas, baroque or sports, she has managed to maintain Versace’s currency at an all-time high. Along the way, she’s been keeping an eye on emerging fashion talent like no other Milan designer, and has collaborated with Christopher Kane, JW Anderson and Anthony Vaccarello before they ascended to fashion superstardom.

The International Award from the CFDA is especially meaningful. “What I love about America’s fashion is that people here truly have no fear in expressing themselves through their clothes,” she says. “They really see them as a way of expressing who they are or their beliefs. I am a strong advocate of this attitude and I am happy to see that, especially the younger generations, are fearless of embracing it.” Spring’s celebratory tribute to Gianni – the vibrancy of prints, the metal mesh designs, the supermodel finale – reminded us all of the power of Versace’s designs, which, with Donatella, is in best hands.