“If you’re going to put me on a leash then it better be diamond studded”. Few weeks later, that quote still has the same effect on me now as it did the very first time I heard it. Think you know who the bold speaker is? If you guessed Donatella Versace…or at least a version of Donatella Versace, give yourself your very best Bellisimo because you are correct! Airing just a few weeks ago on October 4, 2013, Lifetime’s bio-pic, House of Versace, is still ruffling people’s feathers. Though the design house itself has denounced the film as a “work of fiction”, critics and viewers are all saying the same thing: when it comes to Versace, you’ll always have something to talk about!
Loosely based on the biography of the same name by author Deborah Ball, House of Versace, which was directed by Confessions of A Teenage Drama Queen alum, Sarah Sugurman, had everything you’d except from a Lifetime movie-drama, drama, and did we mention drama? Filled to the brim with everything from drug use and divorce, to rehab stints and familial discord, House of Versace is a culmination of everything and anything you would think of when you hear the words “fashion-empire”. When I first heard about House of Versace, I quickly got excited. Though I wasn’t a Versace expert by any means, I did know a few facts here and there (Elizabeth Hurley’s safety pin dress being one of them); seeing House of Versace as the perfect opportunity to bot only watch a fashion-movie (because who doesn’t love those!) but also learn something new! And boy did I learn a lot.
Played by acclaimed Show Girls vet Gina Gershon, House of Versace’s Donatella is everything you would expect her to be-creative, passionate, glamorous, and a bit crazy-“I was crazy even before the drugs!”. Though half of the movie was devoted to the career and murder of Donatella’s older brother Gianni, House of Versace is largely the come-back story of Donatella. Though she and her brother had a close relationship, (Gianni claimed Donatella was his muse) there were several times in the film where the two seemed to be in competition with each other. For instance in one scene Donatella states, “I know what it feels like to be a woman — something you will never be”, to which Gianni responses, “And you know what you will never be? "An artist." I’m not going to lie, I yelped at that one. To make matters worse, Gianni then writes Donatella out of his will, giving the entire company to his then 14-year old niece Allegra. I’m not going to lie here either-I was extremely jealous of Allegra.
Though these scenes, along with those that depiction of Donatella’s drug addiction and downward spiral were a bit hard for me to watch, (her breaking a champagne glass against a chandelier, being one of them and her eldest brother’s Santos’ Burberry dog reprimand: "Christopher Bailey has made Burberry so popular that dogs are shopping for trench coats! "And what have you done? Destroyed a legacy!"), I felt like House of Versace was a success overall because it showed the struggles and perseverance of Donatella as she moved away from designing a collection her brother would have created, and instead embraced her own creativity and style. I also loved how Donatella came about having this realization-ripping an entire sleeve off the muslin mock-up of a potential dress: “This one is not another copy of want Gianni would want. This one’s mine.” How I wished I was that inspirational sleeve! All in all, I think House of Versace was a colorful and amusing film.
My Rating: Two out Three Bottles of Versace Bright Crystal Prefume