Older, wiser, and still incredibly relevant, Donatella Versace is no legend in the fashion industry, not only for stepping out of her brother's shadow after his tragic murder in 1997 to helm their namesake label, but also for her own inimitable style and larger-than-life persona (anyone who's been parodied multiple times on SNL is more than just a big deal).
And she's a survivor too, having dealt with family tragedy, substance abuse, and of course the ups and downs of running a fashion label as high-profile as hers, especially in times of economic crisis. (Versace, it should be noted, is one of the few fashion houses that hasn't yet been scooped up by a larger conglomerate; it's family-owned, with Donatella owning 20 percent.)
Still, all that hasn't obstructed her from looking ahead, and more specifically, at the futures of other young designers. Versace recently helped found the Central Saint Martins 20:20 Fashion Fund to help benefit the famed London design school, a venture to which she donated 20,000 euros of her own money, and has since convinced a host of other fashionable names to follow suit. "It's a jewel in the fashion world. It's a diamond," she tells the
. "All the biggest designers have come from Central Saint Martins. Alexander McQueen. All of them." That includes Christopher Kane, who has been especially relevant to the Versace empire since he was brought on board as a creative consultant and has since taken the reins at its younger, Versus line. Louise Goldin, who heads up Versace's knitwear collection is also a CSM grad.
"A young designer gives a more established one a new eye, an eye that is alive today," she says—sage words from someone so young at heart.