The forecast rarely calls for rain in Los Angeles, but when it does, things tend to grind to a halt. It’s why the folks at Versace made the decision to reschedule their much-anticipated open air show from Friday to Thursday at the 25th hour. Mercifully that didn’t stop the house’s circle of Hollywood fans from showing up in Beverly Hills last night. The likes of Dua Lipa, Miley Cyrus, Channing Tatum, Anne Hathaway, and Lil Nas X all came out to support Donatella Versace, as well as lifelong friends like Elton John and Cher who sat front row with her record executive boyfriend on the roof of the landmark Pacific Design Center.
“I mean I love this city, I love the people, the laid back vibe, the atmosphere,” the designer said in a preview interview. At this time of year in particular, the city is a home away from home for Versace—after all she’s spent many an Oscar weekend working with award nominees as they make the final touches on red carpet looks. The time around though, the spotlight was all hers.
To set the tone for house’s destination show, Versace circled back to a pivotal mid-’90s moment. Easily the most prominent inspiration images on the moodboard for the collection were Richard Avedon’s 1995 images of Kristen McMenamy. The chic skirt suit that McMenamy wore in those photos was tailored close to the body and replete with the brand’s signature gold buttons.
“I wanted to go back to the cut and shape of the clothes, to concentrate on the perfect little black dress, the perfect black suit,” Versace said. Gigi Hadid opened the show dressed in a look that echoed those elegant proportions. She wasn’t the only super in the house either: Versace favorite Naomi Campbell took her turn on the runway in an ankle-grazing black dress with an embellished bustier. Kendall Jenner, who like her friend Hadid was mostly absent from fashion week, stepped out to close the show in a teeny tiny LBD, glittering cropped cape, and classic pink satin pumps.
For celebrities that were still shopping for Oscar dresses, there were options aplenty. Some of the standouts: a crystal-encrusted naked dress that called to mind a modern Marilyn Monroe, a slinky black chainmail number with sculptural floral embellishments, and va-va-voom interpretations of the cone bra worked into various hourglass shapes.
Still, it was daywear that won the night, starting with Hadid’s neatly tailored black skirt suit. Even the denim was cut with razor sharp precision—paired with a billowing white shirt, the slightly flared creased blue jean was easily one of the most covetable pairs of the season. There was a smart reinvention of the denim tuxedo as well, in the form of a funnel neck denim jacket with a sophisticated watteau back that was paired with a pencil skirt.
After the show, guests gathered to enjoy cocktails and admire the view as the sun set over snow-capped mountains. Many of the models joined the throng, still dressed in their runway gear. With dramatic black swooshes painted across their eyelids and satin slingbacks on their feet, they looked especially glamorous even among this well-heeled crowd, some of whom were only just getting started for a weekend of non-stop events. For the fashion editors and buyers in the house though, it was an epic bang of a season finale.
BY CHIOMA NNADI
March 10, 2023