For Donatella Versace, Sustainability and Luxury Go Hand in Hand

L'Officiel caught up with the fashion icon about the opening of a new Versace store in Miami, where green is considered gold. No introduction needed
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The Bal Harbour store, opening soon, will be your first shop built according to the new store concept. Can you tell me a little bit about the new approach to store design?

The Bal Harbour shop fit into the larger vision of sustainability for Versace, by being not only another step forward but also by revealing a new concept that we will roll out in key Versace boutiques all over the world. It’s the proof that if you start with sustainability in mind, you can do whatever you did before only in a better way, because you take the environment as well as the people into account. Leading the company towards sustainability is something I have been thinking of for a while, and together with a dedicated team, we have been working behind the scenes for a couple of years to promote this change.


This idea of “disrupting luxury positively” is a new approach for Versace. What exactly does this mean—and how does it apply to your store design?

It means that Versace takes a disruptive approach in evolving more sustainable materials and designing more sustainable products, always applying Italian care and pride to a global approach. Versace boutiques are our window to the world and to our customers. Integrating sustainability principles into our retail spaces means enhancing both environmental aspects and the experience of everyone who walks into the boutique. With regards to the environment, sustainable innovation is being embedded in stores’ design, materials, equipment, and operations. New boutiques use less energy for heating, air conditioning, and lighting than an average store. An equally important benefit is for people. Occupants of green buildings, both customers and employees, are healthier and more productive, as green buildings have better indoor air quality and lighting.


You hold the position of artistic director and vice president of the board. The vision is yours. How do you envision the future of retail for Versace?

We live in a constantly changing environment in which something that’s new now will be old in a couple of hours. That has had an impact on the way we look at the future, and not just in our work environment. From a certain perspective, it makes things less certain and predictable. From another, it forces you to always remain alert, vigilant, with your eyes and ears wide open—because if you miss a beat, then it’s going to be hard to catch up. It is also about being relevant. Change is fundamental if you want to have a voice for the new generations. Luxury naturally means the most extraordinary craftsmanship, the finest materials, the most empowering design.


When they walk into a Versace store, what do you want customers to feel? Experience? Take away with them?

Customers choose their favorite brands because they feel the clothes, accessories, and brand philosophy match and enhance their personalities. They use their wardrobes to express who they are. The experience of Versace boutiques is about giving customers the freedom to express themselves in a context of ultimate luxury and extra attention to the client’s needs.

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