#SuzyMFW Versace: Neon Bright Colours And Floral Mash-ups

As legendary Canadian supermodel Shalom Harlow walked the geometric printed carpets to close the Versace show, her presence blazed a trail of memories from the 1990s.

But the strongest message from her slinky floral top and semi-transparent black skirt was this: here was a 44 year-old woman smiling as she lead a trail of other women in control of their athletic bodies.

Donatella herself made the final statement, a slim figure in top and pants giving a brief wave and ducking out.

Versace’s ‘woman in control’ spirit has been present for a while – ever since she moved the show away from her own (ultra-glamorous) back yard to the Fiera di Milano – the onetime centre of the fashion shows. There the designer has shown for a few seasons her vision of female strength.

But for the Spring/Summer 2019 show, there was something different. Dare we call it maturity? And not just because Shalom Harlow, from the epicentre of the 1990s supermodel era, but unseen in fashion for years, will soon turn 45 and be officially cast as ‘middle aged’.

The Versace attitude was not about age, but focused on the confidence of women stepping out in a jacket and short skirt. Except that most of the slim, patterned skirts were knee length in colourful checks or stripes. And for those defined as ‘working women’ there were smart jackets, leather coats and trouser suits of a conventional kind. The leather dress stopping at mid-thigh was an exception.

What the designer played with was colour and pattern, with snatches from the past like screengrabs of authenticity. The prints were mostly floral, sometimes with a hippy-deluxe mix of patterns, the colours neon-bright and strong, with every designer’s favourite shade in the Milan season: orange.

A year ago, Donatella played tribute to the 20 years since her brother Gianni’s death with a gathering of the 1990s supermodels wearing shiny, metallic silver dresses. The image was powerful – another of the designer’s ‘strong women’ stories. This show was much more relaxed, even casual. It did not make any great fashion statement. But it was pretty nice.