To mark the 20th anniversary of Gianni Versace’s passing, Donatella Versace dedicated the Spring 2018 collection to her brother. Held at the Triennale Museum in Milan, the show made fashion history. From start to finish, the collection was an ode to the late designer’s mastery for bold femininity, outlandish splashes of print, and unapologetic glamour.
Even before lights up, the front row set Instagrammers into a frenzy as Saint Laurent‘s Anthony Vaccarello – former creative for Versus Versace – sat next to Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli and Gucci‘s Alessandro Michele. The stark show space certainly juxtaposed what was to follow.
Donatella tapped into the fashion house’s archives from the early 1990s to 1995, taking Gianni’s masterful prints and recapturing them in capsule wardrobes. Now instead of scouring eBay for old pieces, fans of Gianni’s lines from the first half of the 1990s can go direct to Versace in Spring 2018 to get the Tresor de la Mer, Icons, Butterfly, and Baroque collections. The revived retro designs will include strong-shouldered jackets, bumbags, and leggings. One black and white dress that featured on the Spring 2018 runway was a direct piece from Gianni’s archive. The ball skirt from the Fall 1992 Native American collection, originally modeled by Naomi Campbell, was worn once more on the runway, this time by Natasha Poly.
Although the line-up of models was incredibly strong – the sheer volume of social media posts was proof of the star power on show – the finale was fashion history at its bleeding edge. Having snapped the likes of Kendall Jenner, Bella and Gigi Hadid, Anna Ewers, and Kaia Gerber (Cindy Crawford’s daughter who started her runway debut in NYC this season at Calvin Klein), Donatella closed the show with the original supermodels: Helena Christensen, Naomi Campbell, Carla Bruni, Claudia Schiffer, and Cindy Crawford, all wearing dresses inspired by Gianni’s Metal Mesh collection of Fall 1994. Naturally, George Michael’s anthem Freedom was played at full volume. The fashion crowd were set with an impossible choice: set iPhone to record or clap in full applause?
It was an epic close to a truly touching tribute to Gianni, humbling in its timeless artistry, and clever in its fresh vision for nowness.