‘Travel Sense’ of a fashion royalty

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US Secretary of State John Kerry (left) and US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the topic of “The Authorization of Use of Force in Syria” on September 3 in Washington, D.C. AFP PHOTO

For Francesca Versace, sharing the last name with fashion royalty has been both a challenge and an inspiration for her chosen career.

As the daughter of Santo Versace, the older brother of revered style icons Gianni Versace and Donatella Versace, Francesca has been surrounded by fashion and designs all her life. But, she admits following in the footsteps of her famous relatives was her own choice.

“My dad always told me to be a ‘Francesca’ first before a ‘Versace.’ To forget about my last name and to prove who I am and what I can do as a person. But I am very proud to carry the family name and try to carry it the best as I can,” she told The Manila Times in an exclusive interview.

Francesca was recently in the country to launch her collaboration with Bric’s, the internationally acclaimed 60 year-old Italian luggage brand.

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Francesca’s Travel Sense Collection made its Asian debut in the Philippines in time for the grand opening of the Bric’s stores at the Shangri-La Mall’s new East Wing store and at the SM Aura.

Fashion frames
Travel Sense traces its origins from cooperation between Bric’s, a top-level testimonial of Italian style in the luggage and accessories market; and Francesca, born in a family of fashion designers and a designer herself. Their interaction combined two different interpretations of tra-velling: Francesca, for whom travel is a reason for life; and Bric’s, whose core-business has been founded on the words industria, valigeria, fine: industry, travel, luggage and quality.

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The collection of bags and accessories revolves around the theme of travelling which is reinterpreted through the picture frames that represent dreams, desires, emotions and most especially moments that shape one’s life

But how did everything began? Francesca shared it was a chance meeting in Florence that initiated the collaboration. “I met the Briccola family at the Pitti fashion fair in Florence, and they asked me to collaborate with them and I was really honored,” she recounted.

As for her inspiration of Travel Sense, Francesca explained, “I love to travel. Every time I go somewhere, I always come back with lots of pictures, so I put them in frames. If you come to my flat, you’ll see a lot of frames.”

She added, “I put all of them together and added a touch of baroque and neoclassic because of my family DNA and wanted identify myself with that.”

As a result, her newest bag and accessories collection revolved around recurring frames as an element that encloses an entire existence: dreams, desires, emotions and most especially moments that shape one’s life.

For Bric’s commercial director Attilio Briccola’s part, he shared, “This partnership showcases the unmistakable style of Francesca Versace and the performance of reliable and durable materials, craftsmanship and avant garde technology that characterizes the Bric’s brand.”

Being a seasoned traveler, Francesca also gave a piece of advice: “When I buy a bag, it has to have a good weight and details are very important; it cannot be just beautiful, it has to be practical and functional.”

Francesca’s passions
Francesca has been to a lot of countries but admits it is her first time here in Manila. “My dad told me a lot of nice things about the Philippines when he visited here last year for a project and for his advocacy work with Operation Smile. He said the people are so warm and welcoming, and he was right.”

Santo was in the country for the inauguration of the Milano Residences by Versace Home, the first luxury private residences in Asia, which is being built by Century Properties.

“I love Asia. I have been to Tokyo, Bali and Thailand several times. I love the beach! Unfortunately this particular trip is mostly business, so I promised myself I’d come back to visit your beaches in the summertime!” she also enthused.

Francesca then added how she enjoys going to places and immersing herself in nature. She stated, “I also love to detach myself from cell phones and computers; just to be in touch with nature is very healthy and rejuvenating.”

Besides travelling, Francesca reveaked she also draws inspiration from the things she loves to do. She shared, “I love listening to the music of the Rolling Stones, Florence and the Machine. I enjoy classical music and rock music. I love Brazilian Bossa Nova as well, and of course Italian music. I am inspired by the colors of everyday life (her favorite colors are purple, orange and black), and by normal people walking the streets, I even take pictures of what they wear. I also love going to museums and old churches.”

She continued to talk more about herself, “I’m a morning person. I would go to the gym early before going to my client meetings in the morning. I dedicate my afternoon to my work and research going to museum and modern exhibits, and unwind with friends over dinner.”

Finally, The Manila Times asked what would her dream project? “To create or establish my own lifestyle brand—from clothes, accessories to interior designs,” she answered.

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