The international fashion house Versace undeniably organised the most talked-about runway show to be staged at this years Milan Fashion Week. The event itself saw Donatella Versace, the current vice president and chief designer of the Versace Group, reunite five of the original supermodels from the ‘90s in a surprise finale of the brands Spring/Summer 2018 collection.
Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Carla Bruni, Claudia Schiffer and Helena Christensen revisited the catwalk in a tribute which marked the 20th anniversary of Gianni Versace’s death. Versace was shot dead at the age of 50 on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion in July 1997. The gunman, 27-year-old Andrew Cunanan, took his own life days after his unfathomable three-month crime spree that left at least five dead. At the time of his murder the designer was said to be at the peak of his career and many still associate the term ‘supermodel’ with Versace’s legacy.
The five ‘icons’, as Donatella referred to them, walked to the late, George Michael’s hit ‘Freedom’. The finale was intended to re-create one of Versace’s most memorable moments from his 1991 Fall show, which saw four supermodels walk together on the runway whilst George Michael sat in the front row. Fellow designers including those from Valentino, Gucci and Saint Laurent attended this year’s show to display their support.
Despite the criticisms Milan Fashion Week 2017 has faced, it cannot be disputed that Versace brought glamour and excitement to the runway. Several of the brands’ ‘Golden Girls’ of the ‘90s received a standing ovation and rapturous applause as they walked the runway. By featuring the five women as the pinnacle of what can only be described as a spectacle in tribute of Versace, Donatella created aesthetics which emphasised her brother’s “allegiance to women.”
Accessories were no less extravagant with Versace’s signature printed silk incorporated into scarves on this year’s catwalk. These paired with chained belts and gold statement jewellery helped to reinforce Versace’s legacy as a showman.
An element of nostalgia was also brought to the show through Donatella’s designs. A catalogue of Gianni’s greatest hits, primarily between 1991 and 1995, featured as the basis of this season’s collection. The five icons appeared in shimmering gold lamé gowns which took their inspiration from Versace’s Metal Mesh designs of 1994. Models were styled in a wide variety of clothing, including garments adorned with the baroque pattern inspired by Versace’s 1991 collection. Kaia Gerber opened the show in a broad shouldered two piece. This outfit was laden with a leopard print design, paying homage to the Animalier collection of 1992. Versace’s exuberant prints were used to reflect the joyus and positive spirit of Gianni. Kaia, who is the 16-year- old daughter of Cindy Crawford, was a physical representation of Donatella’s ode to her brother. The words “you helped invent the future” were never more apparent than when the second-generation star took to the runway.
Pop art, primarily associated with Andy Warhol, first made its appearance in the brands 1991 spring/summer collection and was reintroduced into this years Versace pieces. Versace’s world renowned look was fittingly captured and displayed through these symbolic designs.
Boldness and excess can be easily associated with the Versace brand which was apparent in the vibrant palette of colours to appear on the runway this season. The silhouettes used were inspired by the ‘90s including cropped jackets, cat suits and maxi skirts. However, these classics were reinterpreted and reimagined by Donatella in order to tackle her belief that certain shapes appear dated today. Nevertheless, the addition of flashy colours and loud ‘80s prints ensured for a complete throwback.
Gigi Hadid and Binx Walton closed the main portion of the show in thigh-high leather boots ornamented with stones to form the shape of a cross. These pieces in particular, presented a sombre metaphor, perhaps suggesting the closing of a chapter within the fashion house. It has been rumoured in recent months that Donatella Versace will soon be stepping away from the brand, however this has not yet been confirmed. Nevertheless the audience were given an optimistic insight into the next generation of Versace.
image: COLOMBIA AMABLE via flickr