A Touching Confession of the Ups and Downs of the Versace Family

This book was born out of the love I felt for my brother, my parents, and of course, for Francesca.

The promotion of the book “Brothers” by Santo Versace took place on 6 October at the BIG FASHION shopping mall. The event, open to the public, was attended by the Ambassador of the Republic of Italy in Serbia, H.E. Luca Gori, Sladjana Milojević, director of the Fashion Apparel Cluster of Serbia, as well as Robert Čoban, director of Color Media Communications.

The event was opened by the Ambassador of the Republic of Italy in Serbia, H.E. Luca Gori:

“I’d like to thank all of you who came and to say that I am extremely happy and honoured that we have the opportunity to host Santo Versace and his wife Francesca in Belgrade today. Crnjanski travelled to Tuscany in 1971 and wrote in his diary that he had come there to connect all visible and invisible threads. I believe that Santo Versace, just like Crnjanski, came here in order to connect those threads and to present his book, which talks about precisely that. This is not only a book about an Italian family, about the love between brothers, but also a story about the history of Italy and a testimony of the love between Santo and Francesca. I wish you a pleasant evening, enjoy!”

Robert Čoban, director of Color Media Communications, also addressed the audience:

“I think it’s wonderful that, in cooperation with the embassies, we bring important people to this country. The book “Brothers” by Santo Versace is an interesting account of a family and a country that came out of WWII impoverished and destroyed. We know Italy as the country that is a symbol of fashion, elegance, that opens stores with the best brands all over the world. This hasn’t always been the case. It was precisely the house and the family of Versace that started spreading Italy’s image around the world. Enjoy today’s promotion and I hope to see you at another similar and interesting event like this one.”

Sladjana Milojević, director of the Fashion Apparel Cluster of Serbia, also greeted those present:

“It is a great honour for me to be here with you and to be able to greet such a great name. Most local brands in Serbia are extremely connected with Italian fashion as a symbol of art, history, passion, creativity and innovation that has inspired the whole world for centuries, not just the Serbian fashion industry.”

The interview with Santo Versace, the author of the book “Brothers“ was conducted by Duška Jovanić.

Santo Versace explained that his book was born primarily out of love:

“This book was born out of the love I felt for my brother, for my parents, and of course, for Francesca. Gianni was the younger brother, born two years after me, and this is a book that talks about how we were growing up and how we were meeting each other. The book was also born out of love for charity and good deeds. This is where my foundation comes from, where I have really invested a lot of effort and work in order to show that love.

Both through fashion and through my engagement and commitment to work. Everything that was this love and respect for my family, and for Italy, I have presented in my book.”

Gianni and I were two sides of the same coin.

He expressed great satisfaction that there is a connection between the people of Italy and Serbia, not only those who once lived in Italy but also a large part of the population. He added: “We are cousins, we are one big family.”

He pointed out that he hopes everyone who has the opportunity to read his book will be able to get better acquainted with the history, not only of his family, but also of Italy and the story of its development after WWII. He emphasised that the book is very important for young people and that it addresses them in particular, because “at a young age, when there is passion and when you invest a lot of love, you can really achieve anything.”

Santo Versace also referred to the relationship between him and his brother, Gianni Versace:

“Gianni and I were two sides of the same coin. We looked like different parents. Gianni was a true copy of our mother, and I was a copy of our father. We were different, but we always spent time together. That way, we constantly complemented each other, as was the case later on in our work. Even as a very young man in the army – at the time, I was at the border near the former Yugoslavia – I realised how big the dreams of my brother Gianni were. I did everything to try to help him achieve his dreams. Gianni did a lot for women’s emancipation in his approach to fashion, but he did just as much for men’s emancipation.”

That’s the magic word. Love. If there was more of it, there would be no wars and conflicts

He mentioned that, in addition to writing, he is engaged in the field of cinematography along with his wife. He also runs the “Santo Versace” foundation, which addresses precisely the most vulnerable categories that need help. He explains:

“Dealing with the past is nice, but we want to focus on the present moment and help as much as possible. Being engaged with cinematography is a continuation of our fashion business. I have just spoken with the Italian ambassador about the connection between Serbian and Italian cinematography. I am glad that I’ve been able to see that there is this synergy in the fashion world, fashion industry, cinematography, and this cooperation and all other kinds of cooperation.”

He also commented on the pain he faced while growing up, starting with losing his younger sister. The tragedy he had to overcome in the later years of his life was losing his brother, Gianni Versace. He says it took him 25 years to get over it fully. He emphasised that it had been a great trauma for him, one he took very hard and barely managed to overcome. He explains that today he feels better, more relieved and younger compared with that time:

“He is always with me and is always following me. I managed to overcome this thanks to the love Francesca gave me. That’s the magic word. Love. If there were more of it, there would be no wars and conflicts.”

The evening ended with the sale of copies of the book “Brothers” and Santo’s signing of dedications for all those who attended the promotion.

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