Donatella Versace talks about Madonna, the past and the future
Donatella Versace talks about Madonna in depth, to celebrate her 60th birthday.
In an interview with MF Fashion, Donatella talks about their longtime friendship and the future.
We have just met again at the Met Gala. She put on a dress of 20 years ago, and she told me «Look, it closes again». Perfectly, same physique. It was the same (Versace) iron grey dress from 1993 that she wore to promote Bedtime Stories.
How was your relationship with her? What kind of person is she…?
She is wonderful, a person who can also be difficult for those who work with her because she is demanding. She is Madonna exactly for this reason. She is so demanding and never fails. She works hard. She is a multinational company. I always say: “You should not call yourself Madonna. But multinational! ”
Where did you meet?
She wanted to meet me and I was a little scared because she is Madonna, and I said to myself: “why does she really want to meet me…?”. We were at Herb Ritts’s studio, who photographed her years before. He was shooting a campaign for me. «Listen, Madonna wants to meet you, Madonna really wants to meet you». And I replied: «tomorrow, tomorrow». But, suddenly she arrived at the studio in Miami, and she asked: “So, do you want to talk to me or not?” «I am not talking to you; I’m scared because you’re Madonna». Everything started at that moment. When she gave birth to her two children, Rocco and Lola, I was there at the hospital with her. We have always been very, very close.
What did you say? A woman of great intelligence. And also a fashion icon…
Yes, she is awesome. If you think about all the looks that she created…
She also launched so many fashion designers…
Yes, everybody followed her. Her continuous transformation. She always went further, because – she said that – a woman usually tends to wear what she already knows that will be good for her.
And, instead she…?
Instead, she revolutionized her image. It also takes a lot of self-confidence to do this. And sometimes it requests taking risks.
How was it like to photograph her for your campaigns?
She was super professional. Always on time, five minutes early and not late. I do not know if the models are better than her, but, at that level, they are like machines. She is incredible. Furthermore, she knows how to be in front of the camera. She immediately puts herself in the right pose. If a photographer tells her to change the pose, she replies: «No, I look better this way, look». And, about the clothes, she says “You must show this part”. She is brilliant. She is an icon, and she will always be. Forever.
Any rivals in sight?
If someone wants to become Madonna, I want to see who can reach her level these days…
They said that Lady Gaga…
There is no one like Madonna. Anyway, Lady Gaga is an exceptional artist, but they are two very different women. Gaga’s voice is incredible; she can do jazz, she can do everything. At first, she was also transforming, but now she became a little quieter.
And there is also a lot of marketing. Does it take some mystery to create the myth?
For the last campaign that I made with Madonna, on the set it was mandatory to leave your phones at the entrance. Those were her directives. She creates a mystery around herself. People are waiting to see the photos, they really want to see what the images look like. Because she is always unpredictable.
Has she ever surprised you too?
Once I arrived at the house we had rented for a shooting, it was Donald Trump’s house. I find her with blond extensions, very long. She wanted to look like me…
Are you talking about that famous time with the chicken?
Trump was not expected to be there. Madonna was lying on the bed with an embroidered evening dress, and I was next to her. Then he arrived with Kentucky fried chicken. I still think of Madonna‘s face.
Why don’t you make another surprise? After the supermodels, why don’t you bring her back to the catwalk?
Now she lives near. She lives in Lisbon, because of her son, who wants to play football. It looks like she’s getting ready for a new tour…
Will not she do a Vega Residency?
No, I do not think that’s her story. She will rather launch new talents…
So, she will be a producer. Isn’t it tiring to go on tour around the world?
When she is not on tour, she is training three and a half hours every day. And when she is on tour, she is training 6 hours every day. She is unstoppable. I saw it with my own eyes. Once I went out to train with her in Miami, and I really wanted to die. We had to run with our sneakers on wet sand, and then do all the hotel floors on foot. But it was a satisfaction.
At one point I said, “I’ll wait for you here.” I stopped, I turned and I saw that her bodyguard already gave up long before me.
Which of her words do you remember the most?
Madonna says things that really touch you deeply. They touch your heart. She doesn’t open with many people, but when she does, you discover that she is a beautiful person inside. She is generous. Look what she did in Malawi. She opened a hospital for children which did not exist. She adopted four children. It was a gesture of love.
Love? Not marketing?
Absolutely, not. She does not need it at all. She is Madonna.