Donatella Versace
by Stephen Garner
Donatella Versace
Donatella Versace

The British Fashion Council has announced that Donatella Versace will receive the Fashion Icon Award at The Fashion Awards 2017 in partnership with Swarovski, on Monday, December 4 at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The Fashion Icon Award celebrates the creativity and innovation, glamour and power of Versace and recognizes both the incredible fashion legacy of Gianni Versace and the role Donatella Versace has played in maintaining the iconic brand her brother created as well as supporting, mentoring and championing many young British designers and young designers around the world. December 2017 is also a very significant moment in time for Versace as it marks the end of a year of remembrance and tribute to Gianni’s 20-year legacy and the celebration of Donatella Versace’s 20th year at the helm.

Donatella Versace’s career started by her brother Gianni’s side as his right hand and inspiration, as his challenger and his champion and as the creative director of Versus. Whilst Gianni was reinventing the codes of fashion and defining the imagery in fashion for the 90’s, it was Donatella who brought celebrity into the house and into the iconic advertising campaigns. Following the untimely passing of her brother, Donatella took up the role of artistic director for the brand in 1997 and has since been responsible for countless cultural moments that have shaped the fashion world we know today.

VersaceKnown for her creative brilliance and artistic vision, Donatella has not only gained recognition through her creative direction for Versace, but also through her endless support and encouragement of emerging design talent. In 2010 Versace launched the Central Saint Martins 20:20 Fashion Fund and most recently announced the Gianni Versace Scholarship. Donatella has also collaborated with some of the leading new talents in the UK including Christopher Kane, Jonathan Anderson, and Michael Halpern. Donatella exemplifies support of young people, which has contributed to her status as an icon to the global fashion industry.  For those that know her she is kind, generous, funny, focused and inspiring.

Born in Calabria, Italy and raised by her dressmaker mother, father and two older brothers, Donatella was primarily influenced by her brother’s passion for fashion. Founded by Gianni Versace in 1978, the brand first opened its doors in Milan showing both men’s and womenswear. Gianni’s genius in design made the brand internationally renowned for its innovative materials, ultra-glamourous design, iconic patterns and revolutionary menswear. The iconic Medusa heads, the invention of metal mesh and advertising campaigns shot by Richard Avedon and Bruce Weber featuring the likes of Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista further defined the ‘90s and turned Versace into an international symbol of luxury and glamour.

Through her incredible commitment to design, innovation & business, Donatella Versace has continued to build the brand into one of the best known luxury fashion brands in the world. This year alone has seen her collaborate with Lady Gaga for the Super Bowl, pay homage to Prince at the spring/summer ‘17 menswear show and pay tribute to her brother Gianni’s vision at the spring/summer ‘18 show for her 20-year anniversary as creative director with historic looks showing Gianni’s famous prints and metal mesh worn by the original supermodels that the house made famous.

Versace“I am truly honored to be collecting the Fashion Icon Award at The Fashion Awards 2017,” said Donatella. “For 40 years my brother and I have done what we love and that is a legacy I am honored to continue and uphold. We have celebrated empowerment, joy and of course glamour. We have championed a community of people who share our values and together with them have created truly iconic images in the world of fashion. I am truly humbled by how Versace has been embraced across the decades, across the world and across the generations. Thank you to the industry for your support of us, thank you to my team for their loyalty and incredibly hard work, thank you to my family and friends who have supported me more than they can know and thank you to the genius that was my brother Gianni. His incredible spirit is in everything we do and everything we stand for.”

“Donatella Versace is an exemplary woman and designer who has shaped the global fashion industry with her vision for Versace,” added Dame Natalie Massenet, chairman of the British Fashion Council. “She has shown incredible strength and dedication to the industry and has continued her brother’s legacy through her remarkable work. What I admire the most about her is her ability to make women look and feel powerful. I could not imagine a better recipient of this award, especially as this year marks such an important date for Versace.”