In July, the fashion world remembered Gianni Versace upon the 20th anniversary of the designer’s untimely death. But the tributes didn’t end there.
On Friday, the legendary designer’s sister Donatella Versace invited former first lady of France Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, and Helena Christensen to recreate the famous 1994 Versace ad campaign shot by Richard Avedon they starred in — with a 2017 twist. George Michael’s “Freedom” played the models posed on a platform in gold gowns.
The reception was more than warm. Anthony Vaccarello, Alessandro Michele, Pier Paolo Piccioli — creative directors at Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, and Valentino, respectively — stood to applaud Donatella.
A post shared by @luke_leitch on Sep 22, 2017 at 10:25am PDT
Every audience member seemed to pull out their smartphone to capture the moment that was arguably as iconic as the first, staged two decades earlier.
Social media reaction was similarly sentimental.
Donatella just warmed my sad, jaded fashion heart!!!!!!! https://t.co/2fYMgZJQ6K
— Julie Zerbo (@ZerboJulie) September 22, 2017
— Elizabeth Paton (@LizziePaton) September 22, 2017
— Jen (@Jordans_Armoire) September 22, 2017
While the finale was all about the original ’90s supermodels, the rest of the Italian brand’s Spring 2018 collection featured today’s top catwalkers — including Crawford’s daughter, Kaia Gerber, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Taylor Hill, Lexi Boling, and Candice Swanepoel.
All of the looks were noticeably Versace, with many ensembles using archival patterns on silhouettes updated and refined for the 21st century woman.
“Over the years I’ve seen so many homages to Gianni Versace and direct reference to Gianni Versace,” Donatella told the New York Times. “But I didn’t have the courage to do it myself. I was always afraid to touch the work of Gianni. I thought I would be criticized: ‘She isn’t Gianni.’ I thought I was going to fail. I thought I was going to fail. I mean, I did fail for a while! But then I realized: I was there for all of it. And the younger girls — Kendall, Gigi — kept asking what it was all about. Because you know, he died before there was social media.”
While rumors have been swirling that a nostalgic show would be the perfect swan song, the 62-year-old refuted the rumors that she’s retiring: “Where would they get a platinum blonde like me? I’m irreplaceable.”
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Alexandra Mondalek is a writer for Yahoo Style + Beauty. Follow her on Twitter @amondalek.