In between jet-setting (she is a Versace, after all) from her two homebases in London and Milan, Francesca Versace has been quietly building a name for herself as a budding designer. Not one to live on her last name alone, the 27-year-old daughter of Versace President Santo Versace is in the middle of relaunching Italian menswear brand Verri Uomo.
You recently started consulting for Verri Uomo from RTW to accessories. What made you decide to go into menswear?
I’m trained in womenswear from [Central] Saint Martins in London, and love womenswear, but I have always been intrigued by menswear. Increasingly, I find that the two are related, with collections intermixing and referencing either gender. Plus I love to wear oversized jackets and tees! Just belting them in, the cut and shape is flattering; it is relevant to what women wear now! My past projects have focused on womenswear, so being involved with men’s also broadens my experience and knowledge, which is very important to me.
Lucky guys! Tell us a bit about Verri. We hear it’s in the middle of a relaunch.
Verri Uomo is an Italian menswear house, known for its beautiful tailoring and leather jackets. Myself and a team of young designers are working on making it relevant to today’s consumer, while using its strong heritage as a key reference. There is a small line of leather jackets coming soon also.
As a designer, there must be pressure in having Versace as a last name. Has it affected you in choosing projects?
Being a Versace is not easy; people expect a huge amount from you. I have been lucky to grow up in a family immersed in fashion, which has only encouraged my creativity. My projects vary greatly, from fashion and interior design to working with Milano Young – a charity I am involved with in Italy. I like to be involved in different things, it keeps things interesting, but I am very passionate about design in general, both fashion and interiors!
How was going to Central Saint Martins? It seems like it has such a creative atmosphere!
I loved it! I wish I were still there.
You have ties to both London and Milan. What are some of your favorite places (restaurants/nightclubs/cafes) to go?
In London I love: Shoreditch House, Loungelover and Bungalow 8 are fun, Cipriani and Scotts for dinner, Claridges and the Connaught are lovely for drinks; they are very English which I adore. I loved Double Club in East London (the Prada foundation project).
Milan: I love the Bulgari for a nice apertivo and Il Torchietto restaurant on the Navigli for a cozy dinner and the best pasta in town. And for a refreshing drink or dessert I will stop at Saint Ambreuse, a historical bar in Milan. The cakes, which you personally order, are to die for!
Let’s say we’re the unfashionable relative in need of a wardrobe update. Where would you send us for some fantastic shopping?
Via della Spiga in Milan; beautiful cobbled streets and most of the brands Italy is famous for! I am a huge vintage fan, so I love the Portobello Market in Notting Hill, London. In Paris, I adore Puces de Clignancourt, a huge but very special flea market. If in Paris, it is so worth a visit. I always find something very special.
Aside from fun and fashion, you mentioned charity work. How did you come about starting Milano Young?
Milano Young was set up by a group of my friends at home after the Tsunami tragedy. We wanted to find a way to help; it is our way of contributing. It is a wonderful charity which helps people my age and younger. I design a sportswear collection, sold through Italy, where the proceeds go to the charity. We also hold summits in universities about actual themes. Milano Young is very important to me.
Okay, busy girl! Any other upcoming projects on your plate?
Yes… all will be revealed! A secret for now!
Summer has been slow in coming to New York, but we’re finally seeing sunny weather. Where’s your ideal vacation spot?
I can’t wait to go to Sardinia in couple of weeks for a break, I love to swim and enjoy the Mediterranean food! I also love the mountains, St. Moritz, for power walking and getting a long-lasting, never-ending tan at the end of August before I go back to London!