The past year has been a big one for Donatella Versace. On top of steering the Versace brand toward success (and most recently dressing our First Lady in that Atelier Versace gown we couldn’t stop talking about), the brand’s creative director has spent the last twelve months wearing many hats. She’s stayed ever-present in pop culture—making her mark on social media by launching her own Instagram account last December and getting slated to be played by her good friend Lady Gaga in the upcoming series Versace/Cunanan: An American Crime Story—as well as continuing Versace’s legacy as the fashion house prepares for its 40th anniversary. Just in time for the anniversary, the brand is releasing Versace, a book chronicling the life and work of the confidante-turned-creative director. For the occasion, Vogue asked Versace to share the valuable life lessons she’s learned during her extensive career.
One of the tenants of Versace’s advice is to “be brave and fearless in everything that you do, always, with no compromise ever.” This message resonates within her other lessons—that being a woman in charge takes extra determination and confidence, that you’re your best when you’re true to yourself, and that the Versace brand “has always stood for freedom and the right to truly be yourself.” In addition to recognizing the strength and courage that was required of her to overcome her family’s tragedy and take the helm of her late brother’s brand, she commends her team, which she says is like an extended family, and the passion and energy they bring to the fashion house.