Versace: a visual love letter from his sister Donatella
In a brilliantly conceived homage, Donatella Versace commemorated Gianni’s 20th anniversary – the gentleman passed 20 years ago – on Friday with a collection remembering his moments of glory and not his cruel ending.
“This is a homage to a legend. He’s an annoying genius. Gianni you always recognized how powerful women are. You helped them reclaim themselves. Thank you,” cooed DJ singer Violet on the soundtrack.
The magnificent moments of Gianni in the Nineties staging couture at the Ritz in Paris or the dazzling ready-to-wear shows of his private palazzo on Via Gesù were all evoked. A magazine left on each seat called the event, Tribute to Gianni Versace, Celebration of his Life and Works.
Every single print was culled from the archive. The Golden Baroque of 1991 (seen on a quartet of young beauties marching together) or the Warhol imagery of 1991; the Animalier of 1992; Trésor de la Mer of 1992 and Butterflies of 1995.
The collection was replete with insider fashion visual puns – Gianni’s famed fabric made for Cindy Crawford on the cover of Vogue was cut into a figure hugging cocktail worn by the supermodel’s daughter Kaia Gerber. The show even included one vintage dress – an original from the Native Americans collection of fall/winter 1992. Worn with gusto by Natasha Poly, its crinoline-cut, dense leather plumage proved to be too difficult to reproduce.
“Good, great, beautiful!” beamed Yves Saint Laurent creative director, and former designer of Versus, Anthony Vaccarello, who sat front-row beside Pierpaolo Piccioli and Alessandro Michele.
At the finale, a large white curtain was pulled away to reveal five legendary supermodels – Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen and, naturally, Cindy Crawford. All of them wearing the slinkiest dresses imaginable, in the metal mesh Gianni first developed back in 1994. Donatella marched them down the catwalk together, receiving a ceiling lifting standing ovation in the contemporary art center, La Triennale di Milano.
“Each year Gianni lived, he lived to its fullest; throughout his career, he created collections that to this day are considered a cultural reference and inspiration,” said Donatella in the magazine.
For some unfathomable reason, Donatella’s backstage was again closed – her third show in a row this year. A bizarre choice given how much this naturally witty woman means is such a powerful plus to the house.
So, in the end, one was left with a touching and telling reminder of what a truly great designer was Gianni Versace. Whose tragic death robbed fashion and the world of style of one of its greatest ever creators. An all time great.
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