The Oxford Don-atella
The Oxford Dons must have had their mortarboards thrown askew when Donatella Versace entered the university’s historic debating society wearing a raunchy, leather sheath dress. Far from enrolling as a mature student, Versace was in fact partaking in a live interview with fashion critic Tim Blanks before undergraduates and a celeb-heavy front row: namely, actor Rupert Everett, designer Christopher Kane and daughter Allegra.
If you thought Versace would be little more than a vapid, balloon-lipped, fashion airhead, you’d be wrong. Her poignant shock and awe sound-bites included, “If I could dress anyone, I’d like to dress the Queen – she can handle anything”, adding, ”I’d put her in black – she never wears black – and a little leather, maybe. A little rock ‘n’ roll.” Exactly, why entice crowds with a £10.5 million pound Diamond Jubilee flotilla, when we could just dress Her Majesty in vampy S&M-style gear? Perhaps not, she’s 86 after all.
The ridiculous aside, the designer spoke openly about her brother Gianni’s death in 1997, fondly on the subject of celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor and Axel Rose and didactically about the recession. “Some say the economy means that you have to persuade people to invest in clothes – to buy less things but more expensive things. I disagree – invest in jewellery, or a house, maybe, but not in fashion.” Sound advice. The 57-year-old has had her own financial woes in the past when the fashion house came close to bankruptcy in 2004.
However, it was Versace’s comments about the celebratory mood of 2012 that were particularly well-timed. She said, “In 2012 [bling] it’s back; people are having fun with fashion again.” Surely this is something we should all take to heart in the coming few months in light of the Diamond Jubilee, Euro 2012 and of course, the Olympic Games.
– Richard Peckett