With the recent premier of crime drama The Assassination of Gianni Versace hitting the screens in the UK (Wednesdays, BBC2), the fashion world and the public are still paying homage to the designer after his tragic murder in 1997. Versace is known for his iconic Medusa print, plunging necklines and the signature chainmail Orton dress, made with silks and hard metal. The realm of Versace has since been in the hands of younger sister Donatella. Since the death of Gianni, Donatella has stuck to the archives of Versace and has since always included one or more of the common themes seen in the fashion houses collections: baroque, metal pieces, Warhol and icons.
‘This collection is focused on “mystery, which is always glamorous.”‘
Versace’s Autumn/Winter 2018 Ready-To-Wear Collection did not disappoint. Inspired by English heritage prints and scarf, the show, which took place in Milan’s Palazzo Reale di Milano, featured silhouettes last seen in the 80’s, schoolgirl tailoring, buckles, belts and intense blues, yellow and reds.
The opening looks of the collection began with beige tailoring and flashes of plaid, paired with gold toned accessories. Following Versace’s previous collection, which paid tribute to the late Gianni, Donatella said that this collection is focused on “mystery, which is always glamorous.”, although most silhouettes were oversized and unfeminine, belts were used to expose the model’s small waists and bring more structure to the outfit. The fashion houses’ previous collection paid tribute to the twentieth anniversary of the death of brother and founder of the label Gianni. The show itself was iconic, reuniting the models that became a part of the brand and showcasing some of Versace’s most memorable pieces from Gianni’s archive.
As the show continued, it was evident that this time around Donatella was not afraid to enhance and embrace what is now known to be Versace. As the models took to the runway, each look began its transition to bolder, busier prints, colours and accessories, including socks and bags that were introduced alongside checked, tartan prints. Frayed hems and print inserts were also seen on denim as the pieces in the collection became reinforced from tailored and sexy to more punk, rock and roll meets western. The look seen on 16-year-old Kaia Gerber made those on the front row look twice as she donned similar looks worn by her supermodel mother Cindy Crawford, when modelling for the Italian fashion house alongside ‘Versace’s angels’ in the 1980’s and 90’s. The looks that continued on the runway emulated Gianni’s Versace and did not stop.
A notable feature to this collection was Donatella’s passion for diversity. Of course it is not a binding requirement for fashion houses and designers to include women of different ethnic backgrounds in their shows, but Donatella has always be precautious, ensuring that ethnicities and cultures are included in such a huge event in the fashion calendar month.
“This collection specifically uses iconic prints and colours”
As Versace shows acknowledgement of current issues facing society, onlookers of the show including blogger Tamara Kalinic commented on the sense of empowerment she took away from the show. Models on the runway were later seen with over sized city handbags and Versace’s take on the classic little black dress. The tulip shaped skirts of the dresses were pulled in at the waist with statement buckled belts and worn with boots which admittedly did resemble big liners on the feet but embodied trends seen in Versace’s younger days. Other LBD’s were seen, with matching head scarves, high necks and one armed sleeves. The women in the dresses walked in a trio, showing strength in numbers with small square eyed black sunglasses and matching bags sitting pretty under their arms.
Donatella knows how to connect with a large number of her millennial consumers as she got their seal of approval with all of the Instagram worthy pieces. Versace would never be Versace without their name or logo emblazoned on one of their collection’s pieces. This collection specifically uses iconic prints and colours by the designer, however, the occasional Versace slogan t-shirt was featured, tucked into a black corset showing off the model’s figure before an amount of cascading, layered fabric gathered around the model’s waist and legs, revealing a pair of black sheer tights and strappy sandal heels to match the ensemble. Some online fashion blogs and magazines even believed that a lot of the pieces which feature full skirts and exaggerated shoulders played homage to looks previously worn by the likes of Princess Diana. Donatella herself accepted an award at the Fashion Awards in London and showed her continuing support to emerging British designers.
This collection was another strong one brought to fashion consumers by Donatella, embracing Versace’s best known narratives and signature components which make up the brand. Donatella will now be working closely with American Vogue’s Anna Wintour and the Vatican in preparation for this years Met Gala, which is set to take place on May 7th. The theme of the infamous gala this year is ‘Heavenly Bodies – Fashion and the Catholic Imagination’. Consumers now wait for the anticipated ‘First Monday in May’ for bespoke pieces from the designer as Donatella and her empire go to new lengths to enhance the popularity and reputation of the fashion house.