The old saying that 'A picture is worth a thousand words' could have been coined in response to today’s Versace show. No amount of gushing or fawning praise will do justice to that much-Instagrammed finale, when the supers of yore - Carla Bruni, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, and Helena Christensen - flanked Donatella Versace in sparkling golden gowns. George Michael’s Freedom played on the sound system in a nod to the most iconic Versace catwalk moment - in fact, make that the most iconic catwalk moment ever. You just had to be there. Those who missed it the first time round, back in March 1991, will thank their lucky stars they saw it this time. This was a true fashion moment - they don’t make them like that anymore.
This show commemorated the house’s founder, Gianni Versace. It’s been twenty years since he was murdered on the steps of his Miami Mansion. He was only 50 - think how many great collections he had left in him. Donatella Versace chose to pay tribute to the great work he did have the chance to make, recreating key looks from past shows. Model of the moment Kaia Gerber, daughter of Crawford, walked in a leopard-print look that directly recalled one her mother had once worn. Sounds touching? It was. Audio of a breathy Italian woman, in character as Donatella, played on the sound system: 'This is a celebration of a genius. This is a celebration of an icon. This is a celebration of my brother. Imagine a world without his risk-taking, his innovative genius, and above all, his allegiance to women. A world without his tongue-in-cheek, in-your-face, jaw-dropping creations. I will zig when the world zags; a body is never just a body; sexiness.'
This was beyond sexy - it was outrageously over-the-top, unbelievably opulent. It was everything one could criticise fashion for being and everything Versace has always stood for. Models walked in packs; disconcertingly sexy and almost aggressive in their beauty. They looked in charge, powerful, like Donatella herself, who had always defied expectations around her appearance and gender and, as this collection subtly acknowledged, has steered the house of Versace with such success for the last twenty years that a blockbuster tribute collection of this kind was possible. Emotions aside, this collection makes good retail sense. Never has their been such enthusiasm for nostalgic clothing or retro styles amongst the young - they wear them with a mix of enthusiasm and irony. Testimony to this is the recent relaunch of Fiorucci. Those 'Vogue' prints and Marilyn Monroe motifs - Gianni wasn’t the only icon Donatella was celebrating - look as good today as they did back then. And those sugary sweet pastels - which recalled Richard Avedon’s iconic catalogue picture of the supers in baby dolls hues - will appear today’s girly girls.
But where does one go from here? How does Donatella top this? Well rumours abound that she’ll be making an exit soon and gossip is rife amongst the fashion pack about who’ll replace her. Here’s hoping she’ll be back for more. After all, like they once said about Gianni - what an impossible act to follow.