Tomorrow, the Versace for H&M collection will officially hit 300 stores worldwide (in the US on November 19th), so ladies and gentlemen be prepared to line up in the morning.

Last week in NYC, I got the pleasure to meet Donatella Versace and H&M’s creative advisor Margareta van den Bosch who sat down for a chat with Tim Blanks,’s editor-at-large, at the top floor of the Dream Downtown hotel.

Find out a little bit more about the collection and which one is Donatella’s favourite look. Believe it or not…Donatella even revealed that she likes shopping at H&M.

IMG_3230Margareta van den Bosch, Donatella Versace and Tim Blanks

What does this collaboration mean to you?

D.V.: It was very emotional for me to go through the archives to explore all the looks that Gianni created. It is an amazing way to reach the younger crowd. I am working closely with Lady Gaga or Nicki Menaj. It is great to collaborate with such dedicated artists who have so many followers. Gianni would be so proud to see his clothes worn by younger kids. This is an homage to Gianni.
I was scared to take over the reins from him when he died. I had to gain the credibility from the rest of the world.


Looking at your own shows, you are reenergized creatively. You are working with the Fringe London, Lady Gaga? Calling this a Versace moment, why do you think this was all coming together now?

D.V.: For me it is a fantasic moment. I talk and follow young designers. I am very interested in them and they are very interested in me. A house like Versace has a lot of history they can profit from but I am learning a lot, too. I am open to different opinions. Fashion is every day an exam. After all those years of minimalism, Versace and its luxury are back!


Margareta, did you feel a Versace moment as well?

M.v.d.B.: Yes, definitely. This is a different collaboration from what we did before with all those colours and prints, leather and studs. The essence of the house Versace was truly there.


Donatella, were you surprised when you went through your archives even that you know them well?

D.V.: I was amazed to see how Gianni did everything – I am sorry to say – before everybody else. I see a lot of homage to Versace today as for example young designer Riccardo Tisci did for the Givenchy F/W 2011 collection (looking at me as I was wearing a dress from this collection). But this is enough now. It is my turn, this is my homage to Versace!


Didn’t you have to make a concession?

D.V.: This was the best thing to work with H&M, there was no concession. There are fantastic people in this company. They said yes to everything, I never got a no. It has been a fantastic liberating moment. Just the amount of sketches surprised the team. 
31 looks were asked and I created 43 looks for the runway, from the chokers and the bracelets with the Medusa, flowers from Miami, printed jeans and skirts, leather, the high heels, nothing is missing.


Margareta, what are the criteria for a collaboration? Isn’t H&M and Versace at two comletely different ends? And how do you get started?

M.v.d.B.: It is very much a feeling that we discuss in-house. If we agree, we go for it. We had the first meeting and talked about the collection. We decided something little. When the second meeting took place with the teams around the products, like buyers, people for the packaging and many others, I expected some sketches but Donatella had everything ready. It was fantastic as we always have a lack of time.


Margareta, you said the time was right for Versace, what do you mean with that?

M.v.d.B.: Fashion should be something that makes you happy. This collaboration is about a dream, to give people the spirit of luxury. We try to make it as close to the brand as possible. Maximalism, colours, prints, everything is back. It is an optimistic upbeat collection even that you see all the bad news in Europe.


And how about you, Donatella? What do you think?

D.V.: It is a dream of luxury, for example when you touch the studded leather coat from the Versace for H&M collaboration or the original from the archives, you don’t know which one is the real one.

Donatella & meDonatella Versace with me

What is this collaboration about? Which impact will the collection have on H&M or Versace? Will it change your own work?

D.V.: I had that clear idea what to do, of the look that young people want. Fashion is freedom today. Technology plays a fantastic role and H&M uses it in an amazing way. It is interesting to see how young people put things together and that everything goes.

M.v.d.B.: Fashion is about expressing your individuality. This collaboration is about giving the customers something new and showing that you don’t need a huge budget to look good. We are very professional and have all the knowledge. We included for the first time homewear because it is part of the Versace look, as well as jewelry. I mean there is no Versace collection without jewelry. We have two different cushions, a blanket and many different jewelry pieces.


Which one is your favourite piece in the collection?

D.V.: I have 43 favourite babies.

M.v.d.B.: The studded leather dress and the rings.


If I were you, I would definitely get a piece with the tropical print as this is a huge trend among the upcoming Cruise 2012 collections from the likes of Stella McCartney, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Givenchy.

And don’t forget to enter the contest to win the amazing purple one-of-a-kind Versace for H&M dress! Deadline is tonight! Good luck!

And rumours are out that the next collaboration might be with Tom Ford, OMG!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht