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Fashion, unfiltered: how 2017 became the year of Versace

dodano: 5 grudnia, 11:07 przez ashleys


 

In 1997, Gianni Versace was murdered on the steps of his Miami Beach home. His grief-stricken sister, Donatella, suddenly found herself in charge of the family company. Twenty years later, she has chosen to take this anniversary and make it extraordinary, hijacking the style agenda to the extent that fashion journalists have been calling 2017 the year of Versace. She has designed a tribute collection inspired by Gianni’s archives, announced a scholarship in her brother’s name at Central Saint Martins and, in September, in a fashion coup for the ages, reunited Gianni’s supermodel crew – Helena Christensen, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Carla Bruni and Claudia Schiffer – for a catwalk finale that melted the internet.

It’s not over. On Monday night, she received a major accolade at the Fashion awards. On Tuesday, she will open a new Versace store on Sloane Street in London. In the light-filled salon where we meet, she is warm and smiley, talking me through a set of unpublished photographs by Doug Ordway that will be exhibited in the store. A lot of her year has been spent poring over old images and old creations, opening up the archive – a 10,000 sq ft storage facility in Novara, near Milan – and examining Gianni’s most famous creations for the first time since his death. “Not in a sad way,” she says, “but a very positive way. I saw what a genius my brother was. To me, he was my brother, but to the rest of the world – such a genius.”

Even the names of the archive collections, produced between 1991 and 1995, speak of another, more glamorous age: Vogue, Warhol, My Friend Elton, Icons, Baroque. The pictures she shows me are from that time, too, and present the supermodel era exactly as you would want. Here is Bruni, a future first lady of France, dancing with abandon in thigh-high patent boots. Here is a babyfaced, never-off-duty Crawford, smouldering for the camera as she queues backstage. Here is Christy Turlington, running down a beach, wearing only shimmering sequins. Compared with the unsmiling models who have walked the catwalk since, and the airbrushed campaign images and omnipresent filtered Instagram photographs we have grown used to, these pictures feel authentic (however liberally doused in hairspray the models are).

They bring back great memories, says Donatella. “This was the period that fashion became famous,” she says. “It was the beginning of fashion becoming pop culture, of being associated with music and rock’n’roll. Those two worlds were really in contact with one another. When something starts to happen, that is the most exciting moment. It was a huge change. The 90s was a huge change in fashion.

“My brother, of course, was the designer; I was working very closely with him all my life. But I started the relationship with the models that Gianni made ‘super’.” What “super” meant, she says, was showing personality. “Before that, I don’t think many designers let models have personality, nor after. The models should wear the clothes, be very serious, not smile, look in front of you, almost no soul. This was totally opposite: it was about the girls, what the girls were thinking, who they were dating. It wasn’t just about the clothes, but about who was wearing the clothes.”

Backstage sounds a hoot. She speaks in her inimitable, strongly Italian accent, one anecdote rolling into another, about models arriving six hours before the show because they all wanted François Nars, rather than his assistant, to make up their faces. She talks about the models swapping clothes after they had been allocated outfits and thinking: “I don’t know how I’ll explain this to Gianni.” She adds: “What I remember was the professionalism of these women, and the competition, which I think was very good and healthy. Everyone wanted to be better than everyone, not in a bad way.

“My brother was very concentrated about the clothes. I was, too, but my role was to make the girls feel like themselves in the clothes. Would they like it a bit longer or shorter? They were a soundboard.”

Fashion modelling is only just getting exciting again, she says, thanks to technology. “There are two generations of fashion for me: the one before the internet and the one after the internet.” Between the supermodels and now, she says, “was a moment of flatness. Now you could do this picture backstage again – there are people with enough personality there.” She likes the Instamodels, such as Gigi Hadid, who have become powerful thanks to their millions of followers on social media. “I think they are amazing. Very smart girls. Again, finally, we have girls who dare to stand out in the crowd.”Read more at:cocktail dresses | evening dresses




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