Los Angeles has been uncharacteristically rainy lately. In planning its Fall 2023 runway show here, I’m sure the last thing the Versace team expected to go wrong was the weather. But at the last minute, they were forced to move the show up a day due to an outdoor venue (usually a safe bet in SoCal) and rainy forecast.
It was not a very L.A. way to start things off. But the event itself? So L.A.
First of all, there’s nothing more L.A. than a parking garage, and the show was actually held on the roof of one — albeit a particularly nice one at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, featuring sweeping views of the hills and the city, fully Versace-ified with plush carpeting and golden walls. While certainly gorgeous, the setting wasn’t ostentatious in the way one usually expects from Versace. A sign of things to come?
Also very L.A.: a red carpet. The brand rolled out a long one for an even longer list of Hollywood stars, from youngsters like Dua Lipa, Lil Nas X and Miley Cyrus, to legends like Demi Moore, Elton John, Pamela Anderson and Cher. Donatella knows how to round ’em up, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that the Oscars are just a couple days away.
Front-row star-power aside, the runway show itself did not disappoint. With nothing but a California sunset in the background, Versace delivered a dynamic Fall 2023 collection filled with great tailoring, wardrobe staples worth investing in and eveningwear that feels timelessly elegant. Not to mention plenty of hot-girl cocktail attire and truly covetable bags, shoes and statement jewelry.
Notably, this showing lines up with many of this season’s strongest debuts, in that it feels exceptionally practical and desirable, lacking in unnecessary frills (while still very much in line with the brand’s ethos). It’s as if the designer stripped everything down to just the essence of what has made the house truly iconic — the minimum requirement of what’s needed to still be a powerful Versace woman.
To be clear, that doesn’t mean the collection lacks in fun or sex appeal: Though much of it is black and brown, delightful shades of pink and blue are incorporated throughout, often combined unexpectedly in the same outfits. There’s an undeniable late-’80s/early-’90s tinge to many silhouettes, from strong shoulders to pouf skirts and dresses to cone-shaped bustier tops. Three models in voluminous, hourglass-shaped Atelier Versace dresses and elbow-length gloves even walked with their hands on their hips, recalling the supermodel era made famous by the house’s late founder (and also a lover of celebrities), Gianni Versace. (Speaking of supermodels, Naomi Campbell, Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner were among the cast.)