The outside of Versace shows are a scene like no other at Milan Fashion Week. Hundreds of fans crowd the footpath and spill out onto the road, holding their phone cameras in the air, desperate to catch a look at the action. The hysteria isn’t without reason: every season, Donatella Versace never fails to create a spectacle that steals headlines, clogs up Instagram feeds and has the whole town talking.
Two years ago, in 2019, the brand tapped none other than Jennifer Lopez to close its spring-summer 2020 show, enlisting the singer to wear her iconic Google-breaking Grammys dress 20 years later. Runways were paused soon after due to the pandemic, and last night’s show marked Versace’s first since early 2020. To mark her iconic house’s return, Donatella was never going to go small.
The fever outside was warranted and so too was the online equivalent: Versace’s website crashed momentarily at showtime, so heavy was the traffic to its livestream. As a song by the label’s current face and the world’s current biggest pop star Dua Lipa kicked off the show, the singer herself surprised attendees by walking out onto the catwalk. Making her runway debut, Lipa wore a black jacket with cut-out hip detail and a matching knee-length skirt, both of which feature Versace’s iconic safety pins in yellow, orange and blue.
Following Lipa came a slew of equally famous faces. There was her potential future sister-in-law, Gigi Hadid, who walked in a high-shine PVC dress and matching headscarf (though sister Bella, who skipped out on the Met Gala and hasn’t appeared at any fashion week shows yet, was still notably missing from the action). Versace muse Naomi Campbell wore a pink and orange suit and was followed swiftly by Madonna’s 24-year-old daughter Lourdes Leon in a gold sequined gown.
Emily Ratajkowski, who gave birth to her first child, Sylvester, in March, also took a turn wearing a bright crop top with a matching silk headscarf and low-rise wrap skirt, and so did another house face Irina Shayk.
Lipa’s safety-pin opening look, an ode to Liz Hurley’s iconic Versace dress which she wore to the premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral more than 25 years ago, was a sign of what was to come on the runway. All through the collection were colourful pins, holding together skirts, jackets and dresses. Elsewhere were high glamour pieces made of PVC and ultra shine hot pink, with Lipa closing the show in a two-piece set that wouldn’t be amiss on stage during her upcoming world tour.
You’d think having one of the most famous musicians in the world both open and close your show would be enough of a surprise, but it seems Donatella is just getting started.
Yesterday, guests received a cryptic message from the designer herself informing them to save the date for a secret event set to take place on Sunday night. Rumour has it, Versace is planning a second show to debut a collaboration with Fendi—something neither brand has confirmed, but which has been whispered about for months, following an Instagram post by Kim Kardashian of her sandwiched between Versace and Fendi’s Kim Jones.
Of course, the speculation is exactly what Donatella wants: come Sunday, the crowds will be back and so too will the headlines. But will Lipa return to the runway? We can only hope.