Subscribe to our Newsletter
Gianni Versace, Forever
One sister’s touching tribute to her brother’s enduring legacy came to be Milan Fashion Week’s biggest moment.
By Caroline Suganda
/13 February 2018
Among the labryinth of Instagram updates during Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer ’18, one powerful image stood out. An image that was reposted a thousand times and more. It’s an image that recalls to mind, one of the most iconic ’90s fashion moments: the original five supermodels — Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Helena Christensen — clad in Versace’s metal mesh gold dresses, sashaying down the runway with chief designer, Donatella Versace, leading the pack, to George Michael’s “Freedom ’90”. The re-enaction itself, destined to become an iconic fashion moment of today, was a power move during fashion week that left everyone attending, in shock and awe.
As a tribute to her late brother Gianni, the first Versace designer, the show was an absolute nostalgic flash-back. The late designer who was murdered in front of his Miami’s Ocean Drive Mansion at age 50, had always been known for his loud, fun and statement-making designs. He successfully captured the zeitgeist of the ’90s, an era, according to Tim Blanks, editor-at-large of fashion website The Business of Fashion, which was when his creative powers were at their peak. “When someone says the name Versace to you, a very clear image probably forms in your mind,” was what Blanks had said in an old documentary series, “Throwback Thursday”, for Vogue US. The image he’s referring to goes back to Versace’s Fall /Winter ’92 show, which, the designer himself famously called the “Miss S&M” collection. Bold and aggressively sexual, Gianni reinvented the bondage as a fashion object, which until today, sees daylight dressing on celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus. He was also known to be the pioneer of things, from using fabrics in ways that had never been used before, reinventing models to supermodels and fostering relationships with famous faces, all before their time.
“What would Gianni do today” was on the programme notes of the recent Spring/Summer ’18 runway, also known as the Tribute collection. “When I was thinking of this collection, I never wanted it to be a retrospective or a nostalgic operation, rather the contrary. I wanted to convey the joy and the love that my brother had for his job and his life and in that way celebrate his legacy,” says Donatella. For the first time in 20 years after his death, Donatella pulled 12 key prints and pieces from the brand’s ’90s archives, the period that saw Gianni’s most iconic collections, like Vogue, Warhol, Baroque, Animalia, Native Americans, Tresor de la Mer, Metal Mesh and Butterflies. But above all that, it was also the defining spirit of the ’90s that filled the air: Models occasionally walked in groups (as it used to be), the casting was filled with the supers of today and the opulence of the archive prints brought about a kind of freedom of expression that is quintessentially Versace.
“The whole process was not easy because he did so much, so much during his life that in one collection it would have been impossible to celebrate his entire universe,” says Donatella. Besides the key prints, Gianni’s designs of strong shoulders, leggings and high-waist jeans remained in the collection, but updated with more comfortable fit. “I tried to make it a little more street.”
While the collection was an obvious nostalgic experience, the show itself was carried by upbeat music and smiling models on the runway. Donatella claims she cried during the rehearsal, just so she won’t at the actual show. “I always think of my brother. He’s in everything I do. And especially in that moment, I felt he was there with me. And I wasn’t the only one. The people at the show who had the chance to meet him, were reliving the moments when he was alive, through the collection and his iconic prints.”
Sign up for free newsletters and get more of T Magazine Singapore delivered to your inbox.
T: The New York Times Style Magazine, and the T logo are trademarks of The New York Times Co., NY, USA, and are used under license by Atlas Press Pte Ltd.Content reproduced from T: The New York Times Style Magazine, copyright 2016 The New York Times Co. and/or its contributors, all rights reserved. The views and opinions expressed within T: The New York Times Style Magazine Singapore are not necessarily those of The New York Times Company or those of its contributors."
© Copyright all rights reserved 2016
Enter your email that you use to register and we’ll send you an email with a link to reset your password.
Enter a new password for this account. This password will replace the old one.
Your password was successfully changed
To save articles or get newsletters, alerts or recommendations - all free.
Not a member yet? Register here
Already a member? Log in here
Your subscription has been confirmed. You’ve been added to our list and you will hear from us soon.