Versace’s Spring 2023 collection is a fascinating display of archival rejuvenation and modern takes on the brand’s tendency to lean into sexiness.
The show began with a romantic piano tease before music whirled into a funky beat as four opening models appeared at the candlelit start of the catwalk. A platinum blonde Gigi Hadid (whose sister Bella also walked) strutted forward wearing a long, hooded dress with a slit at the ribcage, intense cat eyes and slit for the leg. “Sex to the Devil” by Icky Blossoms played with edgy lyrics like “Drugs, sex, rock and roll, the devil came, the devil came, the devil came and saved my soul.”
Donatella Versace’s vision of next spring is as seductive as it is smart, taking inspiration from the ’90s to meet the new millennium in the middle. The show captured the feeling of the brand’s iconic runways from that decade, that turned models like Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista into supermodels.
Current models-of-the-moment fiercely walked in brazen looks that nodded to the house’s archives and to the current times. Cowl necks were draped with drama. A wide belt barely caught by the hips felt like an ode to Look 1 of Fall 1991. Minidresses spoke to the house’s genius with partywear. Leather jackets and pants flaunted an austere quality.
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For Versace, the ’90s were a time of unthinkable glamour and gaudy couture trailed by grief after the murder of Gianni Versace. Spring 2023 feels like a revival of that time with a bit less gaudiness and more boldness. Rather than jewel-emblazoned bustiers and printed emeralds, there are fully neon babydoll dresses and matching veils. Gold baroque patterns, signature to Versace, are interpreted for Spring in rhinestones and fuchsia.
Other things that caught my eye: surgical-looking blue sunglasses, purple lips, bootcut pants with fringe, soft spike-y knitwear, a fanny pack for your arm (reminiscent of a 2008 iPod exercise armband case), micro miniskirts and a fluffy hot-pink feather scarf that felt pulled from a real-life Barbie’s closet.
Versace runways are known to strategically feature models and celebrities to tell a season’s story or simply make the show the talk of the town. With this show’s ’90s/Y2K revival theme, it only made sense to have Paris Hilton close. Signature to the businesswoman and socialite’s style, Hilton wore a hot-pink, sequined mini dress with a cowl neck. Even hotter pink fingerless gloves, stilettos and a pulled-back veil added the finishing touches.
With Medusa watching the show from the printed windows, Versace refreshed the fantasy of the ’90s for Spring 2023. Mused by the blonde woman, this Versace collection of monochromatically styled looks, mostly in black, is teeming with prowess.