Having helmed one of fashion’s biggest brands for almost 20 years, Donatella Versace knows a thing or two about self-determination. So it was fascinating that her Versace show today at Milan Fashion Week began with the self-doubting monologue we’re probably all too familiar with. As the lights went down, a recording of a halting female voice asked, “Am I happy with who I am? Am I happy with the people around me? Am I happy with what I’m doing? Am I happy with the way my life is going? Do I have a life, or am I just living?” Then another GPS-like female voice responded, “Point yourself confidently in the direction of your dreams.” (If only it were that easy.)
It was the perfect prelude for an army of models to point themselves confidently in the direction of, if not their dreams, then at least the end of the runway, at the cavernous Palazzo delle Scintille. Versace’s bombshell DNA was still very much present, in sauvage animal prints, huge hoop earrings, and revealing lace pieces. But there was a CEO-worthy swagger to this collection. Teeny-tiny bandeaus were prevalent, but so were wide power belts, commanding shoulders, and military motifs. And the casting was a great mix of house favorites (Mariacarla Boscono, Raquel Zimmerman, Jamie Bochert) and some new faces (Lineisy Montero, Cayley King). The show ended with a note of encouragement to “women, regardless of race, sexuality, or what sex they were born with,” urging them to “make it happen.” Okay, Donatella, we’ve got our marching orders.