Decamping from her usual base in Milan to show her wares in Los Angeles – only three days before the Oscars – Donatella Versace says she was inspired by the energy, glamour and power of Hollywood.
She had plenty of that, but needed one more thing to make it all work: good weather.
And so, with rain expected on Friday (March 10), Versace was forced move her show ahead by a day. It may have been chaotic, but it was the right move.
Her star-studded runway show Thursday (March 9) took place on a cool but gorgeous Los Angeles evening on a spectacular rooftop overlooking the snow-capped San Gabriel mountains, sleek skyscrapers, and the Hollywood hills.
Oh, and daylight ceded to darkness right as the show ended – just in time to turn on the floodlights, blast "Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince and head to cocktails.
The sun was still out when the crowd began making its way up to the roof of the imposing Pacific Design Center on Melrose Avenue, with its distinctive blue glass exterior.
Guests included a cross-section of the music, film, fashion and sports worlds: Cher was there, as was Elton John, Dua Lipa, Miley Cyrus, and Lil Nas X.
From cinema, there were two best supporting actress Oscar winners – Ariana DeBose and Anne Hathaway – plus a favourite for best supporting actor this year, Ke Huy Quan.
From sports, former NBA star Dwyane Wade was there with wife Gabrielle Union.
Attendees jostled to take selfies with the spectacular view behind them, and staffers warned them not to step too far backward and fall off the building.
In creating her 2023 Autumn/Winter line, Versace harked back to a 1995 collection of Atelier Versace, the label’s couture line, with a campaign starring Madonna.
Colour choices began with black and included caramel and chocolate, as well as apricot, turquoise and pink. Prints included an animal print from the Versace archive and a falling flower motif.
Supermodel Gigi Hadid opened the show in a black, hourglass jacket and knee-length pencil skirt, a sleek tailored look that gradually segued to more glittery ensembles.
Naomi Campbell came later, in a slinky black dress with elbow-length gloves.
After a cascade of black outfits for both women and men, a sudden burst of bright pink surfaced, in a wool cropped jacket and miniskirt, then a minidress in a tangerine hue.
More than halfway through the show came the luxurious, satiny printed dresses – often minis, and accompanied by those elbow-length gloves for added glamour.
Streetwear was nowhere to be seen, and the long gloves seemed to evoke the Golden Age of Hollywood, which began in the mid-1920s and continued for several decades.
Paired with the up-to-there minis, and often accessorised with big sunglasses, they aimed to create what Versace described as "energy from clashing Golden Age glamour with contemporary attitude, and confident power".
How confident? The designer has called this collection a form of armour. As for Los Angeles, Versace has called it "a natural home for us" - a place that makes her feel free and close to nature.
Los Angeles is also, of course, a city of stars – and never more than during Oscar week. The moments before the show felt like a dry run for the Oscars red carpet, with celebrities reuniting or meeting for the first time.
Dua Lipa was shown on social media meeting and sitting next to Cher.
And one set of stars seemed particularly thrilled to be meeting: Quan of Everything Everywhere All At Once” and Hathaway, who each expressed their fandom for the other.
"I’m fainting!” Hathaway said when she laid eyes on Quan. "Everyone is so happy for you!”
Quan replied: "I love you so much." – AP