What is it with designers bringing back their greatest hits?
First, Donatella Versace offered an ode to her brother Gianni’s archives, as well as to his most celebrated supermodel moment, in 2017, on the 20th anniversary of his murder; then Fendi brought back the baguette bag; then Marc Jacobs announced his “grunge redux” collection, which officially goes on sale this week.
Sunday night in New York, Versace was at it again, reincarnating the notorious safety-pin gown of 1994. You know: the one worn by then fairly unknown starlet Elizabeth Hurley, who was accompanying her boyfriend, Hugh Grant, to the premiere of “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” catapulting her to paparazzi stardom overnight.
You can understand the thinking, in the current uncertain climate. It worked very well once; why shouldn’t it work again? So Donatella did.
The occasion for the Versace trip down memory lane was the brand’s first pre-fall collection show, its first show in New York and its first show as a member of the Michael Kors family.
The overarching theme, though, was again an ode to her brother, down to the fact the show was held on his birthday, Dec. 2 (he would have been 72).
So the oversize gold safety pins of fashion legend came not just on a slinky black gown slit up to here and sliced down to there, more asymmetric and twisty than the original, but also on nipped-in black jackets, holding together seams on the back and shoulders and paired with cropped mohair sweaters (stomachs were a prime erogenous zone) and black miniskirts.
They also, not coincidentally, showed up half a world away on a bright yellow custom-made Versace jumpsuit that Beyoncé wore over the weekend at the Global Citizen concert in South Africa.
Before the show, Donatella tried to sum up the difference between then and now in her own way: Today “you can wear a short dress and a pair of sneakers and that’s not sexy any more, it’s cool,” she said.