Versace is a brand with a lot of heat right now. And it has generated this heat by leaning hard into the DNA established by Gianni, coasting the wave of the 90s and early aughts revival and the renaissance of the OG Supers. One demographic in particular cannot get enough of Versace: Gen Z. Gen Z loves nostalgia. Hats off to Versace for being so smart about how it approaches its marketing, its shows, and its casting – the messaging is always on point, and its target always responds. Demonstrating the house’s “give the people what they want” mentality, the show venue was minimally decorated, with a black-and-white harlequin tiled floor and towering floor-to-ceiling white curtains as a backdrop. But the sheer size and scale of it made it all the more impressive, and when the lights came on and everyone had a democratically assigned front-row seat, they gave the audience a crystal clear look at the glamour unfolding before them. It made for some terrific-looking content. High Fashion Twitter, rejoice!
Now, I’m already a Versace convert. It occupies a very specific place in fashion, and it does it well. The past few seasons, things have been a bit more toned down and sophisticated up. It’s still working. Especially at Versace Spring/Summer 2024. It was fun, it was colorful, it was twee, and it was charming. It had a clear archival reference point (Atelier Versace Spring 1995, from which the cute hairstyles worn by models like Kendall Jenner were inspired. Incidentally, it was Claudia Schiffer who sported them in the show back then).
From minimalism to an injection of vigor, the show proceeded. Jenner opened the show in a 1960s mod shift dress – a shape repeated often throughout the collection. A darker portion of the show revealed oxblood leather skirtsuits and checkered separates. Then Donatella opened the candy factory. Her confectionary pastel suits were so Clueless/Jawbreaks-coded. I loved it. Immediately, yes. The sugary effect was even more powerful when Versace sent down roving packs of these “most popular girl in school” models. They are guaranteed to send teenage boys everywhere running for cover. Textures were then switched up, and the collection introduced softly printed sheer separates and dresses made from gridded pieces stamped with flat studs.
Finally, the wow moments arrived, with Imaan Hammam slinking down the runway in a clinging black dress, Gigi Hadid in a gilded gown, and an emotional closing moment with Claudia Schiffer in a checkered, body-skimming, lace-trimmed dress. Schiffer, a muse for the house, returned once more and reminded us of the heydays. Or maybe we never left them.
Versace is a brand with a lot of HEAT right now.