If ever any proof was needed that Donatella Versace is the reigning queen of the runway spectacle, last night’s SS22 reveal was it. The show was opened and closed by runway newcomer Dua Lipa, alongside the likes of Naomi Campbell, Gigi Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, Irina Shayk and Lourdes Leon.
The catwalk was topped by a patchwork canopy of silk scarves, held up by shirtless men in face masks. The soundtrack was made up of hits from Lipa’s acclaimed 2020 album Future Nostalgia, most prominently Physical – and Versace’s latest collection was a joyous ode to just that: getting up close and personal once again.
The British singer’s opening look set the tone: a black cut-out jacket and close-fitting pencil skirt, its side slit held together by Versace’s signature safety pins – a nod to that Liz Hurley dress.
And the Versace-isms didn’t stop there, though it was suitably revamped for the TikTok era; safety pins and silk scarves in archive prints – worn on heads, as panelling on skirts and jeans, or as handkerchief tops – were dotted throughout, while the latter half of the show saw the return of the house’s trademark chain mail in electric hues. Lipa closed the show in a Barbie pink mesh two piece.
Tailored suiting in black, block neons or gaudy florals abounded, as did vinyl in the form of slinky, skin-tight dresses and skirts. Basketball vests were given a silky spin, while bright, printed pyjama sets offered a soft launch into post-lockdown life. Footwear ranged from pool slides and chunky sandals to Y2K-style kitten heels and sky-high platforms; while bags spanned mini top handles adorned with chains and bold, oversized shoppers.
The overall effect was youthful and celebratory, tactile and eye-grabbing: an invitation to get out and get physical once again. And Donatella’s masterclass in lo spettacolo didn’t stop there – yesterday an emailed invite to a secret event on Sunday teased a collaboration between Versace and Fendi’s Kim Jones and Silvia Venturini Fendi. This Milan Fashion Week, Signora Versace is showing us all how it’s done.