How did you start researching House of Versace?
“The Versace story is such a sensitive one that it had to be done in a bulletproof way—to be accurate down to the last detail. It helped that the family agreed to par ticipate; this is the first book that they have ever been involved in. Donatella sat with me twice. Santo [the eldest brother] sat with me six times. I vis ited Calabria [the Versace family’s hometown] a couple of times, and I interviewed Donatella’s college roommate, Gianni’s partner, Antonio D’Amico, plus styl ists, PR reps and busi ness people such as Domenico de Sole of the Gucci Group. I also met with friends like Anna Wintour and Naomi Campbell.”
Anna Wintour comes across as being surprisingly warm.
“Anna had won derful stories about Gianni and Donatella. She made Gianni in the United States by putting him in Vogue. They used to vacation to gether; Donatella invited Anna and her kids down to the Miami man sion. At a show at the Metropolitan Museum in 1997 [after Gianni’s death], Anna became very emotional when she recounted the monthly fax that Gianni would send her com menting on each issue of Vogue.”
What surprised you the most about what you learned?
“The portrait of Donatella given by her family and friends is so different from her kamikaze blond image. So many people told me that she is the funni est and most compassionate person they’ve ever met. They would give me examples of her generosity, like when she gave an employee her dia mond earrings so that she would have ‘something borrowed’ for her wedding. Donatella has her de mons, of course, but she’s the first to talk about them. The worst thing that could have happened to her, personally and professionally, hap pened, and she overcame it.”
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Runway rocker: Erin Wasson
It's full speed ahead for Mark Fast