Donatella and her gang said arrivederci to Italy and landed in the City of Angels for AW23
Los Angeles and Versace have always made the perfect pairing. The house’s sexy gowns and sleek tailoring are longtime red carpet favourites, and Donatella just loves Los Angeles – in her words, she feels “free” when expressing her love for the city. It made sense, then, that the iconic designer and her cohort picked Hollywood to stage her latest show for AW23, bringing a dose of high fashion glitz and glamour to Tinseltown just a few days ahead of the Oscars. With hordes of mega-watt celebrities lining the FROW, and a few more stalking the runway, here’s everything that went down at Versace’s first LA show in 20 years.
THE SHOW ALMOST DIDN’T HAPPEN
Fate almost kept the monumental show from happening, as it literally nearly rained on Donatella’s parade. Originally scheduled for Friday night, the show was moved to Thursday at the last minute due to adverse weather conditions. It made sense. The show venue was the iconic Pacific Design Centre – a 1.6M square-foot behemoth of a glass building – with an open air space where events happen. Needless to say, precipitation just wouldn’t have cut it, but thankfully the elements stayed at bay. Inside, guests made their way up a rich scarlet carpet and into their seats, with the catwalk backdropped by the twinkling lights of Los Angeles and one of its famed soft pink sunsets. So far, so magical.
THERE’S A LIST, AND THEN THERE’S VERSACE A LIST
Miley Cyrus! Dua Lipa! Channing Tatum! Lil Nas X! Pamela Anderson! The list goes on and on and on – were any megastars left in Hollywood that weren’t at the Versace show? We doubt it. The pandemonium reached fever pitch when Elton John showed up in a golf buggy (come on, he wasn’t going to walk) at almost the exact time as Cher arrived with her new boyfriend Alexander Edwards and started posing for photos.
…AND THE CASTING WAS JUST AS MAJOR
It wasn’t just the FROW where the superstars assembled – the runway was as jam-packed with stellar model names as any Versace show. Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner – both of whom kept their AW23 appearances concise by just walking for Prada this season – made an appearance alongside Irina Shayk and Naomi Campbell, who sashayed down the catwalk in a floor-sweeping, glittering black gown that practically screamed awards season. Joining them were the likes of Anok Yai, Jill Kortleve, and Anna Ewers, who kept their looks on post-show to mingle with the guests, cigs in hand.
THERE WAS A BIT OF A SURPRISE WHEN IT CAME TO THE COLLECTION
Versace is well known for its bold and liberal use of a kaleidoscope of colour, so it was a bit of a shock when a collection made up mostly of black and camel looks came storming down the runway. First up was tailoring, with Donatella utilising luxe wools and silks to get her point across – sexy but understated, it proposed another side of the coin than the glittering Versace look we’re more familiar with.
Fusing Old Hollywood glamour with a touch of 60s chic and adding in a whole lot of 90s Versace va-va-voom, later came a succession of red carpet ready gowns debuted in a splattering of colour. Magenta and aquamarine dresses were finished with ladylike ruffles and paired with contrasting elbow-length gloves, while halter-neck styles were embellished with beaded embroidery that glistened as the models walked – the golden era of La La Land was clearly on the moodboard, but Donatella made it feel fresh and contemporary.
Later came wool shift dresses that skimmed the hips and snatched the waist, nipped-in skirt suits, and mega expensive-looking cocoon coats, all of which made the women look powerful and strong without it feeling forced. These were chic looks for everyday – at least for those with the cash to splash – with Donatella’s brand of sexy translated to your own red carpet, even if that’s just the walk to work every morning and back home every night.
THE BEAUTY GAVE GROWN-UP, UNDONE GLAMOUR
Following the vibe of the collection itself, the beauty found the balance between glamour and simplicity. Undone hair came courtesy of Guido Palau, with models looking like they’d just stepped out of the shower and let it air dry to perfection, their tresses bouncing as they caught the wind when they walked. When it came to the make-up, Pat McGrath brought the drama. Skin was flawless and smooth, making the glossy black winged liner the focal point of the face.