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Versace SS16
Anna Ewers (Women) at Versace SS16Photography Virginia Arcaro

Listen up girls: Versace wants you to take on the world

This season, Donatella wanted to make a “strong and powerful” vision of women – and succeeded

What does it mean to be a woman in 2015? In an enormous dome-like space, Donatella Versace addressed that question in her SS16 show with an army of models that stamped their way down the runway as if they were imagining the toes of misogynists were beneath their sky-high heels.

Dressed in military green and ready to do battle with the world, the proportions of sleeves and skirts were exaggerated, with neon animal prints blown up to super-size proportions. This collection was not about minimalism, or women fitting in, only taking up their allotted space in the world. This was about being larger than life, reclaiming power through dress, rooting it back to the real practicalities of women’s lives (see the watches, pockets and backpacks throughout).

From the industry icons (Raquel Zimmerman, Liya Kebede, Mariacarla Boscono) to the rising stars (Lineisy Montero, Gigi Hadid and shaved-head model Ruth Bell) the cast walked to a song created for International Women’s Day by DJ Violet, a call to action for women of all races, sexualities, religions and assigned-at-birth genders to believe in themselves. “There will be people who will say you can’t – but you will,” it chanted – a mantra for self-belief. 

Backstage, Donatella said she wanted to create something “strong and powerful”, and Versace’s vision of womanhood (and yes, sexuality) was one that had ownership written in every stitch. Despite their towering platforms and super short skirts, These women never felt like eye candy for the boys. It was the kind of statement that Versace was born to make.