MILAN, ITALY: There were rumours of Britney Spears closing this show. But when Paris Hilton hit the Versace Spring/Summer 2023 runway in taffy pink chainmail, the world’s collective nostalgia for the spangly sparkles of yesteryear was more than fulfilled. Reminiscent of her iconic 21st party mini, Hilton flamboyantly bounced her way past iPhone-yielding guests; pink pumps, hand on hip, cheekbones which could cut glass.
Versace’s invitation arrived in the form of long black, gold-stamped candles and a tiny purple box of matches, a prelude to the hundreds of candles inside a glass box that would appear on the runway at Via Perin del Vaga.
To Icky Blossom’s “Sex To The Devil” and Viagra Boys “Punk Rock”, Hilton joined supermodels Bella and Gigi Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski and Irina Shayk. Priestly hoods, wedding veils, rubber platforms and lace, lace, lace signalled a neo-gothic segue – one which clashed with fringed leather jackets and skirts cycled through a glam-core lens. Purple was the colour of the night – read: shaggy coats up-cycled from off-cuts of chiffon – and as guests were serenaded at the beginning of the show with Prince’s “Purple Rain”, we’re presuming the colour reference was a nod to the superstar who was one of Donatella’s good friends.
Some years ago now, I interviewed Donatella and we began chatting about the power she wants to express via her runway shows.
“Women live complex lives; we’re complex people, with many different sides to what we do every single day,” she began. “When I’m designing my collections, I’m always thinking about the woman today and the intricacies in her life. She flies high in her career, she has her family, her friends, her social life, her private life. Most importantly, however, she has control of her own life, more than ever before. This to me is the new power of women, and the power that I want to express in my shows. It’s everything to me and has always been a driving force.
“If I had all the millennial women in the world lined up in front on me, I’d tell them to always remember to be strong, put your point across and stay true to your ideas, even if they’re not right yet. And be yourself. After all, it’s what [my late brother] Gianni told me. I know that he’s with me, and by my side, always. And with this, I’m always looking forward.”
The power felt through the strides of the women walking tonight was palpable. You can tell Donatella how a little pre-show pow-wow with her models.
Bravo, Donatella. Another outstanding spectacle.
See some highlights below.