It’s a protagonist inside the Versace boutique on Via Durini, which has been completely revised, room after room, as a true dwelling during Milano Design Week. The new Versace Home collection is the result of exceptional cooperation between Donatella Versace and the designers Roberto Palomba and Ludovica Serafini, under the aegis of Lifestyle Design Group (the Italian division of the American Haworth Group), which has been a licensed partner of the maison for about one year.
The extensive know-how of Palomba+Serafini leads to timeless design creations, the result of 30 years of activity, bringing many international prizes. They attracted the intuition of Donatella Versace, who has understood that they have “the right stuff” to generate a total experience of the Versace world.
“I am a very curious person, and I grab any opportunity to learn something new – the fashion designer says. – When I began working with Ludovica and Roberto I was fascinated by their incredible knowledge of the world of design, and by the ideas they showed me for the Versace Home line. Their ability to combine the iconic codes of Versace with clean, essential lines is truly incredible. I love the way they use colors, and the way they respect the brand, while shifting it into a modern context.”
A careful process of transcription of stylemes and values, as well as design, reflecting the difficulties involved in delving into a brand that has contributed to make the history of Italian fashion. “For us, being from the generation of the glory days of the great fashion creators, this project was a true honor – says Roberto. – In Versace, we have been able to move forward with the revolutionary dimension of freedom, courage, sensuality, which the brand has always embodied. Working on this project has been a joyful experience; we were so inspired that we literally galloped towards something not even we were able to foresee. A voyage through the trademark, thinking about what it represents for us, our memories, what we liked, digging into the company’s archives. The first collection was born, and we are already working on a second one, for next April. The collection is having great success, and it is opening the doors of new markets, including growing attention in Europe.” In this case, the frantic pace of prêt-à-porter seems to find a meeting point with the necessarily slower timing of design.
“One of the most important things we talked about was the fact that design objects should last a long time – Ludovica emphasizes – while fashion brands operate with collections connected with the seasons. In some cases, like that of Versace, they can change everything, from one year to the next. In design that is not possible. The passage we have transmitted to the company is to comprehend that the design of an object is linked to a longer history. Hence the need for it to be appealing for many years to come.”
The idea was to create objects that can change their look thanks to the concept of removable coverings, different colors, although the forms have greater durability. An operation very close to the world of fashion, because “we have created bodies to dress,” they say, fully grasping current concepts like wearability, durability of products, sustainability.
The result is a collection of cabinets whose doors are covered with the same fabrics seen on fashion runways, reinterpreted in a home version; a swivel chair inspired by the sinuous bodies of top models, with a long golden zipper that culminates in a tab branded with the Medusa symbol, “with hints of apparel or the back of a model, perhaps a particular person, since the piece is done in black leather.”
Then comes a vanity table with a large mirror, clad in La Greca, the evolution of the iconic pattern; the Goddess sofa, based on asymmetrical cuts and the collar of a jacket in Perfecto leather; or the ample Aeternitas love bed. In-depth research went into the prints, picking up on classic symbols and modernizing them, like La Medusa, Barocco and the Trésor de la Mer motif, to add a three-dimensional aspect to the details. Leather interacts with silk, luxury metals with marble, solid colors with printed surfaces. An ensemble that is the manifesto of a fashion design collection.
“In the world of design, we don’t know about the remarkable work carried out by fashion brands – Roberto explains. – There is a clear cultural vision, even more so in the case of Versace, which with Gianni and Donatella, and then with Donatella on her own, has revolutionized the role of women. The pathway we are taking together is stimulating, and it is exciting to get out of your comfort zone, exploring different projects. In creative work, this brings you incredible energy.”