To mark the 20 year anniversary of Gianni Versace’s untimely death, a legion of the original supermodels took to the runway to close the Versace SS18 Milan show. The legacy of Versace is intertwined with that of the supermodel that has shaped the fashion industry that we know today, writes Fashion and Beauty Editor Talia Lee-Skudder
Despite the original supers garnering fame from the mid-80s, it was during the 1990s that these elite band of models really burst onto the scene and became household names.
It was after that era-defining Vogue cover shot by Peter Lindberg that catapulted Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington and Tatjana Patitz into the limelight. It then led to George Michael casting the same five women in the music video for his smash hit song Freedom, and consequently the 90s truly became the decade for the supermodel.
After the success of George Michael’s music video, Gianni Versace enlisted Evangelista, Turlington, Crawford, and Campbell to close his 1991 show whilst lip-syncing to Freedom.
What set these women apart from the ordinary model was their personality and their multimedia appeal before the social media age; not only did they model the clothes, they also were the faces of big name brands. They were womanly, intelligent and spirited, and became hot property in the fashion industry.
Gianni Versace went on to be dubbed the ‘supermodel maker’ and was pivotal in transforming these 90s ‘glamazons’ into fully fledged supermodels, and in doing so inspired an army of successive models, such as Gigi, Bella, and Kendall, to also reach for those stratospheric heights in the years following.
In keeping with his figure-hugging and goddess-inspired dresses, Versace recruited the ideal women to best showcase his designs and in doing so cemented the term the supermodel into popular culture. So what better to way to commemorate the anniversary of his death than to reunite the biggest names of the supermodel era for the show-stopping finale this Milan fashion week? Cue Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Carla Bruni, Helena Christensen and Claudia Schiffer.
Donatella Versace took over the role as designer after her brother’s death and has seen the brand through difficult times, near bankruptcy in 2004 being one, but she is now revelling in its success and the 20 year anniversary was the perfect time to show that the fashion house is at the top of its game and is still a force to reckoned with.
The latest collection saw the revival of some of Versace’s most famous and recognised prints, but with an updated style that ensures the relevance for the 2017customer base. Nostalgia, therefore, reached fever pitch when five of the original supermodels took to the runway for the finale wearing restyled gold dresses from their heyday. Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Carla Bruni, Helena Christensen and Claudia Schiffer appeared goddess-like, taking the runway hand in hand, injecting the energy, fun, and personality that was reminiscent of the glory days of the 90s and leaving us wondering when the next reunion will be.
The finale was a fitting tribute to an icon but also a celebration of Donatella’s creative vision and her leadership in the years following her brother’s death.
The show paid homage to the genius of Gianni Versace but also emphasised how his legacy is interwoven with that of the supermodel, securing his place in history as a true creative genius and fashion legend.