Italian fashion icon Donatella Versace has sharply criticized moves by Italy’s far-right government to restrict the rights of same-sex couples. She lashed out at anti-LGBTQ+ policies in a speech at the CNMI Sustainable Fashion Awards on Sunday evening during Milan Fashion Week.
The new Italian government, led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who came to power last year, has introduced several new laws, including policies ordering municipalities to stop registering most children with same-sex parents and a national ban to expand same-sex surrogacy. sex couples, making it illegal to go abroad for the practice, with prison sentences of up to two years and a fine of up to €1 million ($1.06 million).
“Our government is trying to deprive people of the right to live the way they want, limiting our freedoms,” Versace said in her speech on Sunday evening. “The freedom to walk down the street with our heads held high and without fear, regardless of our identity. The freedom to start a family and live as one wants. The freedom to love who you want. We must all fight for freedom. At a time when transgender people continue to be victims of terrible violence, at a time when children of same-sex couples are not considered their own, at a time when minority voices are under attack by new laws. At this point we still have a lot to do.”
The audience at the CNMI Sustainable Fashion Awards, fashion’s “green Oscars,” at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, jumped to their feet and gave Vesace a sustained standing ovation. Versace accepted the Humanitarian Award For Equity and Inclusivity and was joined on stage by Italian left-wing politician and LGBTQ+ activist Alessandro Zan. Speaking to Zan, Versace said: “Your voice is crucial in our world, and I am here to support everything you fight for.”
Versace accepted the award from Italian pop star Marco Mengoni, who called her “a gay icon” and spoke about it when her brother Gianni came out to her as gay when he was 11 years old.
“That didn’t change anything for me. I loved him and I didn’t care who he loved. His love and encouragement have made me who I am,” the designer said, as her speech was interrupted several times by thunderous applause from the audience. “Marco said I’m a queer icon (and) I’m very proud of that. I fight for freedom, equality and inclusivity every day. I built my chosen family with unconditional love. My friends and my team are not defined by race, religion, age, gender or sexual orientation, but by creativity, openness, joy and kindness – values that matter. If we all welcomed each other more and understood each other, what an extraordinary world it would be.”
The White Lotus actor Sabrina Impacciatore presented the CNMI awards and the event was attended by the world’s fashion elite, including Oscar winners Julianne Moore and Jessica Chastain and supermodels Bianca Balti and Coco Rocha.
Sponsored by the National Chamber of Italian Fashion, in collaboration with the United Nations Agency’s Ethical Fashion Initiative (Efi) and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, with the support of the City of Milan, the awards aim to honor people in international fashion . world that have distinguished themselves for their dedicated commitment to sustainability.
Ten prizes were awarded by an international jury of eleven members, including CNMI President Carlo Capasa. Other winners include Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli, who received the Education of Excellence Award, and Edward Enninful, editor-in-chief of the British Fashion, which won the Visionary Award, and Gucci, which took home the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Award For Circular Economy for its Denim Project, which aims to protect biodiversity throughout its supply chain and use waste management techniques to maximize fabric use . Italian luxury textile company Manteco won the Climate Action Award. The Bicester Collection Award for Emerging Designers went to the Ahluwalia brand, designed by Priya Ahluwalia; French luxury giant Keringand won the Biodiversity & Water Award; Chloé won the Human Capital & Social Impact Award; and the Craft & Italian Artisanship Award was won by Dolce & Gabbana. Italian fashion group Candiani has won the Groundbreaker Award for Coreva, the new patented technology that enables the production of the world’s first biodegradable and compostable stretch denim.