Donatella Versace holds court in a royal palace

The Medusa house changed locations this season to the Palazzo Reale, the city’s former royal palace, and at the finale, Donatella Versace took her bow with all the aplomb of a fashion queen.


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Versace - Fall-Winter2018 - Womenswear - Milan - © PixelFormula

An action-packed show; loaded with hipster commercial sportswear; acres of tartan, classic prints and a series of cool references to the key accessory of the current European season – the hijab.
 
It opened and closed with Natalia Vodianova, first in a Stasi spy coat in waxy ruby leather, perched on studded mules; later in a pop abstractionist frayed silk mini cocktail.
 
Though the defining moment was a duet with catwalk stars Edie Campbell and Rianne van Rompaey, a blaze of color that include Big Cat leggings and body stockings, tribal techno skirts; black crew necks and lots of hair.       
 
“The clans of Versace are crowned as true modern royalty,” said Donatella in a private chat with media in the afternoon before the show.
 
Like in her January show during the menswear season here – which was in fact a co-ed collection – there was a whole varsity theme, with college scarves, Argyle socks, and preppy tartan skirts, albeit cut for a naughty after hours party. Medusas everywhere – on chokers, earrings, buttons and bags. All very hyper commercial Versace.
 
Interspersed throughout, hijabs. Most memorably three saucy widows out on the prowl, all in black but with never ending legs; Jackie O sunglasses; and all three topped with black hijabs.
 
Donatella took her bow to decent applause, clearly at home in the Sala delle Cariatidi, a beautiful room still not really recovered from WW2 bombing by Allied forces, crammed with giant statues and columns inside the Palazzo Reale. It had been the location of a major welcoming lunch two days before for editors and executives in town for the season. They were there also to celebrate the opening of a major retrospective of fashion on the peninsula, entitled Italiana.
 
Where, unquestionably, some of the finest looks were from the house of Versace. Donatella sat at the top table, very much the Regina of a repas where there was practically designer gridlock: Pierpaolo Piccioli, Angela Missoni, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Arthur Arbesser, Andrea Incontri, Neil Barrett and the DSquared twins. Very much a moment of Italian Unity, led by the inventive CEO of the Camera della Moda, Carlo Capasa.
 
Though the star that had the biggest bling at lunch, and on the catwalk, was Donatella.

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