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Zayn Malik and Donatella Versace
Zayn Malik and Donatella VersaceCourtesy of Versace

Donatella Versace is working with Zayn Malik

The designer is collaborating with the R&B singer on a collection titled Zayn x Versus

In today’s rather surprising fashion news, Donatella Versace is teaming up with Zayn Malik.

Several weeks after inviting the former One Direction star to sit front row at Versus Versace’s London Fashion Week show, the legendary fashion designer has revealed that she is collaborating with the singer on a capsule collection titled Zayn x Versus.

Why Zayn? Well, apparently Donatella met him a couple of years ago and was intrigued. Then, a while later, she met him again through his girlfriend Gigi Hadid (who has modelled for her on multiple occasions) and knew she wanted to work with him. 

“He impressed me very much – he was so mature, so thoughtful, treated her like such a gentleman,” she said in an interview with the New York Times. “They are very nice young people, a lovely couple, in fact. And then he told me how much he loved fashion. It was then I knew he was the right face for what I had in mind.”

“I wanted Zayn because he can help me talk to his followers,” she continued. “I want to listen to their language. I want to learn more about them, what they think and what they like. They are a new generation that without working with someone like Zayn, I will never reach.”

For Zayn, who covered the summer 2016 issue of Dazed, this isn’t his first foray into the world of fashion design – as well as teaming up with Iron Maiden illustrator Mark Wilkinson on his Mind of Mine tour merch, he’s designed a footwear collection with Italian designer Giuseppe Zanotti.

“I think Versus has always been a very cool brand and is a great brand for me and for people in my generation,” he told the NYT via email. “I’ve always wanted to design clothes and there’s no brand I’d rather design for than Versus. I like to learn about things I’m interested in and I enjoy being around creative people so I think it will be cool. The bonus is that I get to collaborate with Donatella, whom I love and admire. I know we’ll create something amazing.”

The younger, more rebellious and rock ‘n’ roll sister of Versace, Versus has been synonymous with music since its inception in 1989 and, in fact, collaborated with another British musician, M.I.A, two years ago.

Following the departure of its creative director Anthony Vaccarello to Saint Laurent, it’s clear that Versus’s relationship with music and indeed musicians is something Donatella is keen to foster. Later on in the interview, she alludes to the fact that this type of collaboration will become a regular thing for the label. “Zayn is clearly our plan for now. But I think going forward I will keep doing collaborations with other musicians and rock stars as guest designers,” she said. “It will be like our version of taking the brand on tour.”