Runway Legends Caused Quite a Stir During Milan Fashion Week

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In today’s reboot culture of Netflix resurrections and reissues from the ’90s, everyone loves a second coming. And fashion is no exception. Just over a year ago, Donatella Versace staged one of the most jaw-dropping reunions on the runway to date in Milan, when Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Carla Bruni, Helena Christensen, and Claudia Schiffer got the Super-girl-group back together to celebrate Gianni two decades after his passing.

This season it seems the comeback spirit remains stronger than ever as mega blasts-from-the-pasts returned to the runway. But given Milan’s jam-packed lineup of storied fashion houses and long-standing histories, these familiar faces seemed only fitting.

Speaking of Donatella, who, since her acquisition by Michael Kors, has churned out some of her most commercially-solid gear, revived the safety pin. Yes, the oversized, eye-catching gold, metallic version of a stitch that made Elizabeth Hurley famous when she wore a Versace dress—that Versace dress—narrowly clasped together by a rib cage of metal to the 1994 premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral. For the fashion house’s Fall/Winter 2019 line, the safety pins were back, and so were Shalom Harlow and Stephanie Seymour, opening and closing the show respectively. The first, who stars in Versace’s campaign this season, surprise-closed the brand’s show last September, while Seymour’s return marked her first Versace show in at least two decades. Between the two supermodels, were the house’s usual lineup of today’s top models—Vittoria Ceretti, Bella Hadid, Mariacarla Boscano, etc.—all layered underneath swatches of neon greens, flesh-toned lingerie, and schoolgirl tweeds.

Just a day earlier, Czech supermodel Eva Herzigová returned to the Italian fashion capital to close Max Mara’s Max Mara’s Fall/Winter 2019 runway show. Titled Politics of Glamour, the collection was inspired by the brand’s own archives, and indeed we saw powerful women in a colorful array of power suiting. Herzigová followed the likes of CR Girls Joan Smalls, Irina Shayk, and Kaia Gerber, all dressed in thigh-high boots (for the record, the exotics are all faux), cropped cargo skirts, and blazers that were ever-so-slightly oversized. As the brand’s creative director Ian Griffiths wrote in his show notes: „Glamour is the magic ingredient that puts the power into power dressing.“

Other cameos throughout the week elicited pleasant surprise, too. Helmut Lang muse Tasha Tilberg, who walked Proenza Schouler and Coach’s shows in New York earlier this season, was at Etro, and cult-favorite Gemma Ward stomped the catwalk for Roberto Cavalli, where Paul Surridge offered the his best collection yet colored by the brand’s signature tiger print.

Still, the astonishment of each firework casting brings with it a small question of purpose. Are brands bringing in the big guns to distract us from other things? Surely a mediocre look looks better atop a famed supermodel than a girl from the secular world. Perhaps? Regardless, given the modeling industry’s overwhelming focus on finding the next big girl before everyone else, it’s nice to pay tribute to our idols of the past.

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