Donatella Versace feels like her sister's replacement
Donatella Versace felt she had to step into her late older sister’s place growing up.
The platinum blonde fashion star is one of the most famous designers in the business, helming her brand Versace and a diffusion label, Versus. Donatella has an older brother Santo, and also worked closely with her designer brother Gianni up until he was tragically murdered in 1997. But she’s never really spoken about her sister Tina who died at the age of 12 from a tetanus infection.
“After she died, 10 years later I was born. So I felt when I was little, ‘Oh, I’m going to have to fill someone else’s place,’” she revealed to Britain’s Harper’s Bazaar magazine. “This was why I was born as a baby, because my parents couldn’t get over the loss of my sister, who I never met. See, I’m telling the truth finally... It gave me a little bit of insecurity, because my mother never recovered.”
While she knows her mother and father loved her, Donatella couldn’t shake the feeling of being a replacement growing up. But if her mum was still around now, the fashionista knows she would be proud of her as she did exactly what she was told to do; study, work and get married, despite it ending in divorce.
By channelling her emotions into her work, and creating strong yet feminine garments, Donatella, 61, feels she is able to capture what women want more than a male designer would.
Thanks to understanding her target audience’s insecurities she hopes to “empower” them with her pieces, which range from leather jackets to pencil skirts with zips up the front.
Versace’s Medusa symbol is still present too, as Donatella explained: “I respect the code, even though Gianni and I fought so hard about it, because I said to him, in Greek mythology Medusa is not a good person. She’s the one who can destroy you in a moment – but on the positive side, you cannot take your eyes away from her, she is a strong woman, she is a powerful woman, and I like that about her.”