Gant fashion show 2018
Donatella Versace cried at rehearsals the night before her tribute show to her brother Gianni, she said. “So today, I won’t.” By now, what happened has been documented thousand-fold on social media: the curtain draw, the fabulous five lined up in their gold dresses to their personal anthem, George Michael's Freedom: Carla Bruni, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Helena Christensen. The supermodels didn’t hesitate to accept Donatella’s invitation to celebrate the life and work of Gianni Versace, she said, in a show that marked the twentieth anniversary of his tragic death. “I finally found the courage to really go to the archives and pay tribute to Gianni,” Donatella explained in a small gathering before the show, noting that “it took a bit of pain” to get to a place where she was comfortable dealing with his legacy. “In one show you can’t really touch on everything Gianni did.” But she did her utmost, in twelve segments presented by current top models clad in outfits covered in her brother’s original prints. “Gianni was joy, he was happiness, full of life; and these prints were a big part of his personality,” Donatella said.Remembrance Of Flings Past: Behind Versace's History With Supermodels
Remembrance Of Flings Past: Behind Versace's History With Supermodels
The prints drew on collections from 1991 to 1995, but it was the monumental spirit of the really early 1990s that filled the air of this tribute show: a time of unchartered territories, when Gianni was pulling up the roots of bourgeois “good taste” and shifting the paradigms with what Donatella called “take-it-or-leave-it, jaw-dropping, in-your-face sassiness.” It was a time when supermodels were forged, when mannequins became more than just that, and influential people from the arts and beyond came together - Gianni, Elton John, George Michael, Madonna, Princess Diana. It’s 26 years since the show that came to rule them all, autumn/winter 1991’s baroque collection, which saw Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista walk arm-in-arm down Versace’s runway for the finale, and where the designer premiered his swirly, golden baroque print. On Friday evening in her optical white space at the Triennale, Donatella opened her tribute show with that print, passing the baton to a new generation of girls she said are finally reflecting some of the character of the supes.MFW: Front Row And Parties
MFW: Front Row And Parties
“For a long time they were taught to walk in a straight line and not look at anything,” the designer said, referring to the decades between the supermodel era and the character models that have emerged in recent years. “Tonight, if you want to smile, smile!” Donatella kept the archive prints intact, but interpreted them in silhouettes friendlier to our times. She kept Gianni’s shoulders, leggings and high-waist jeans, but injected the fit with “freedom”, arguing that women expect to feel more comfortable today - “I mean, except for me,” she added, laughing. Perched on an armchair at the preview, she’d dressed her petite frame in a delicate baroque and leopard print silk shirt, super tailored trousers, and platform heels adorned with Versace’s Medusa heads. “I tried to make it a little more street,” she said of the collection. “I didn’t want to be nostalgic so the show is upbeat.” With an electronic, spoken-word soundtrack featuring a declaration of love she’d written for her brother – read by an American female voice – Donatella managed to balance out the emotion and the excitement.What Happened At... MFW
What Happened At... MFW
The room certainly didn’t feel sad, although there was no way it couldn’t be a nostalgic experience. “I did this also to give a chance for the new generation to see what Gianni was about: his philosophy in life, his genius, his morals,” she explained. Donatella’s place in the heart of other designers is no secret. Alessandro Michele, Pierpaolo Piccioli and Anthony Vaccarello were front row. In the past, the Versace matriarch has employed the latter as well as Jonathan Anderson and Christopher Kane at her diffusion label Versus, which is now introducing Gianni’s legacy to the millennial generation courtesy of its poster boy Zayn Malik - and his girlfriend Gigi Hadid, who walked the show with her equally influential sister Bella. (Kendall Jenner, of course, was put to good use, too - her mother Kris Jenner watching runway-side.) “Gigi and Bella were asking me, ‘Where can we find the leggings from the nineties?’” Donatella recalled, highlighting the millennial generation’s penchant for Nineties nostalgia and the commercial demand it’s bred.
“It’s time for people to know about it,” she said. During fittings, Cindy Crawford’s daughter Kaia Gerber, who also walked the show, had spotted her mother in the Versace Vogue print, which featured in the collection. “Kaia said, ‘This is my mother, this is mother, it’s true!’” Donatella smiled. Re-issuing the Versace archive prints could prove a lucrative move as well as an emotional one. When the house collaborated with H&M in 2011, the hysteria was through the roof. Half a decade on, the social media generation’s hunger for one-of-a-kind, hard-to-get-their-hands-on fashion has only increased - along with what they’re willing to spend on it. A picture of the Hadid sisters in baroque Versace leggings should surely get the shop floors filled, and for this Italian family business that’s hardly a cynical thing. In the time in which we now live, this wasn’t a groundbreaking collection like when Gianni first debuted his prints, but it said as much about where fashion is today as it did back then, and that was a pretty interesting transition.
By Anders Christian Madsen