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MFW: Versace pays tribute to Gianni Versace

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

24 Sep 2017


Donatella Versace for Spring Summer 2018 delivered a collection celebrating the life and work of her brother, Gianni Versace. It has been 20 years since Versace was murdered outside his home in Miami in the summer of 2007, but a tribute collection and show felt entirely relevant and necessary after all this time. The show closed to a rapturous applause when five of the original iconic supermodels appeared all dressed in gold. But more of that later.

Donatella took to the archives and resurrected twelve key prints for SS18, including an Andy Warhol print from 1991, Wild Baroque (the fabulous black and gold mirage we have come to associate with the House) from 1992 and Butterflies from 1995. This translated into an utterly beguiling collection that dazzled the audience as much as it brought back memories.

There were moments of reconnaissance when four models strutted the catwalk each wearing a version of Versace’s ultimate black and gold brocade, to a more contemporary Versace, as seen on Gigi Hadid wearing a black shift dress with a medusa print swirled along the shoulder and hem, teamed with over-the-knee boots in luxe suede. Her sister Bella Hadid led the finale wearing a leopard and brocade chiffon dirndl, cropped denim jacket and chunky gold chained medusa choker.

Versace’s design icons reinterpreted

What stood out from this show was all of Versace’s most celebrated looks were back, albeit reinterpreted, like the square-shouldered jackets, catsuits, leggings (the butterfly print was key amongst them) high waisted denim, logo t-shirts, and everything that had ever felt ‘very’ Versace. This was the first time since Donatella Versace re-used some of the House’s most iconic fabrics and key prints from Gianni’s original collections from 1991-1995.

When the last of the models exited the runway, the show was not over. As the final curtain slowly lifted, it revealed a lineup of the original supermodels from the ‘90s; Carla Bruni, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Cambell and Helena Christensen, each wearing a couture gold dress in what was probably the most extraordinary moment of fashion week this year.

Versace was known for its brashness and high octane sexuality, but it was also feminine, soft and daring, and at its peak was as fashion forward as designers like Raf Simons, Alessandro Michele and Demna Gvaslia are today.

As the supermodels and Donatella took their final bow, they did so to George Michael’s Freedom 90 soundtrack, the original music video featuring all of Versace’s supermodels. In a post on Instagram Donatella stated: “I have decided to honor Gianni’s legacy with his dazzling metal mesh.” Cindy Crawford, meanwhile, aptly summed the show up in a Tweet: “I can’t even describe the feelings I had today. Thank you Donatella for allowing us to pay tribute to Gianni and Versace. Such a moment!”

Photo credit: Versace SS18, source: Versace official Facebook page