As the sun set over the Mediterranean Tuesday night, Donatella Versace and Dua Lipa presented their summer collab’ collection La Vacanza in the hills above Cannes.
Standing for ‘The Vacation’ in Italian, the collection was unveiled before the pink neo-classical Chateau de la Croix des Gares, offering views over Cannes and the Lérins Islands, and the fortress that held the Man in the Iron Mask.
Co-designed by Donatella and Dua, the collection was made available in-store and on the Versace website immediately following the show.
NBA star Dwyane Wade and Formula One champ Lewis Hamilton shared a pool side table, nearby actress Simone Ashley, British thespian Jason Statham and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, very groovy Rina Sawayama, alongside visiting K Pop stars.
The Regina della Moda and the music Supernova opened their gala show with a rather classic Versace pink dress suit, cut with three buttons and flap pockets, before immediately upping the sizzle with a mini skirt and bustier bra top – two wee pockets attached to two straps finished with Medusa heads. A feature that recalled the one worn by Dua in her iconic clubbing video Don’t Start Now.
Metallic pink and azure leather mini cocktails followed worn by Donatella favorites like Anna Evers. The collection cleverly blended two prints – a Smarties worthy colorful polka-dot and a butterfly pattern. Seen in palazzo pants and mini jackets; flared trouser suits and chiffon gowns. A mini cocktail in the print is priced at 3,500 euros on the Versace website, while the pink bustier will cost fans 2,900 euros.
The collection also featured sure-fired winners like a taut butterfly print sleeveless body, worn with a light turquoise miniskirts, and several steamy lingerie looks. All presented on a cast with big bouffant Barbie hair styles.
In the end the most powerful looks were in black cutaway cocktails, slit up the thigh, and finished with Medusa button harnesses, and worn by models like Vittoria Ceretti. Included in the show were some snappily stylish rings, like a Medusa ring at 520 euros, which mixed up the house’s iconic logo and semi-precious ladybugs in red and violet or an aquamarine butterfly. Displayed in a pre-show video on Instagram emerging from an azure pool or on the hand of Lipa, alongside a live butterfly.
An inclusive cast of shapes and sizes, walked seemingly up out of the sea onto a catwalk built on top of the chateau’s swimming pool.
The house live streamed the show on its own website, hosted by model and actor Iván De Pineda, mixing images of distant sailboats and guest imbibing champagne, several wearing looks from the collection. A clear, focused and cleverly commercial statement, the show marked the first runway display by Donatella since her show in L.A in March, which Dua Lipa also attended. Even if the decision to get Pineda to commentate the show live felt like an overly hard sell.
“Dua Lipa is super talented so I was immediately attracted to the idea of working with her,” explained Donatella in a pre-show conference with editors.
“We have such a long standing relationship. From the very beginning with the Brit awards then we had the Grammy moment. We have done a lot together over time,” responded Dua.
“This story has been completely mind blowing for me, particularly as Donatella has incredible values that resonate with me,” continued the British singer, dressed in jeans and a black bolero jacket.
Turning to the creative process, Donatella – who wore a kissing pink pant suit – explained the pair had visited the house’s archives and then began thinking “how could Dua wear these things but in a different way?”
Given how much music has been such a key part of the Versace DNA – from Madonna, Elton John, Prince to Dua Lipa, the connection between Dua and Donatella seemed natural. Fashion insiders will tell you that the greatest ever live concerts thrown by a fashion house were Prince’s performances for Versace at the opening of the Teatro Versace in Milan and the hook-up with H&M in New York.
Creating fashion, Dua explained, “is very different way from working than music. I feel like the Versace energy has inspired me. I really cannot draw at all, but learned to understand the design language and bounce off ideas. Versace’s core value is family, because it is a real family.”
In a very friendly back and forth, Donatella smiled: “It was a lot of work, but to hear this voice at my side was great. Dua is the woman of today, confident and strong. I wanted the collection to be about what is happening today. For me this is about fun, freedom and opulence.”
“Holiday wear, summer colors, fun and free but also really sassy! Even if we were also trying to create something that is very classical Versace, so you don’t have to look at the label to know what it is,” enthused Lipa.
Asked why the show was see now buy now, the blond designer responded: “We live in a digital world. Making people wait months to buy what they see today is going away.”
Which seemed to appeal to star guest Dwyane Wade. He showed up in a black crystal covered waistcoat, recalling his “model debut moment,” as a Versace model in the house’s eyewear campaign lensed by Mario Sorrenti.
“The thing is you have got to bring the same swagger to a shoot that you bring onto the court,” said Wade, summing up the mood of this show.
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