Versace is not one to disappoint during the Fashion Week. Besides the season collections, the shows were always anticipated for its casting. The house’s SS19 collection is not an odd one out—besides featuring supermodels and rising stars in the industry, Versace also called upon a Gianni favorite to conclude the whole presentation. The reaction to the ‘90s throwback was beyond ecstatic.
Made for couture
Shalom Harlow, who led the next generation of models after the so-called “The Big Five” supermodels of the 1990s, stole the show when she appeared on the Versace runway.
The blue-eyed Canadian model has a long, successful career behind her, beginning at age 17 when she was discovered at a Cure concert. Often dubbed the “anti-supermodel” because of her approachable and reachable nature compared to the other “supers”, she had a face and a body that was described by Tim Blanks as “made for haute couture”. A favorite among fashion photographers, she has appeared countless times as the cover girl for Vogue. The statuesque beauty has also graced both ad campaigns and runways for many luxury maisons, such as Chanel, Dior, Marc Jacobs, John Galliano and Prada, although she might be best remembered for the Alexander McQueen SS99 show. Shalom Harlow closed the fashion show with a white dress being angry painted by two robots, considered to be among the most memorable moments in fashion in the last century.
Although active by the nineties and the early noughties, Harlow soon started to walk less and less. Her last appearance on the catwalk was for Alexander Wang in 2012, marking her runway return with Versace as the end of a six-year hiatus from modeling.
Plenty to take in one show
The Versace SS19 show during the Milan Fashion Week is nothing out of the ordinary for the fashion house. It was not subtle, the colors came too strong, and there were many things to absorb out of the whole setup, but those are all in line with Versace’s brand.
With a rap number on the background, models strutted their stuff with loud, often contrasting pieces. Faux snakeskin was matched with stripes, gowns made the audience’s eyes light up, tight pieces were complemented by more free-flowing tops. There were references to previous decades, although tweaked and occasionally added with the logo in accordance to today’s trends. And there was neon, and lots of it, which fits right in with Versace’s style code. The looks were created with an eclectic woman in mind who also has a refined sense of style, at least according to the woman behind the brand’s creative direction, Donatella Versace.
Donatella, with the help of Piergiorgio Del Moro as the show’s casting director, filled the show with long admired models and Versace favorites. Danish model and the industry’s Queen of Cool Freja Beha opened the show, with other familiar faces soon following on the catwalk. There was Kendall Jenner, both Gigi and Bella Hadid, Kaia Gerber, and Emily Ratajkowski. Josephine Skriver, Irina Shayk, Edie Campbell, Vittoria Ceretti and Natasha Poly also appeared before the audience. The seats were likewise filled with celebs and industry icons, such as Anna Wintour, Chiara Ferragni, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
But the energetic and fierce presentation eventually led to more excitement upon Shalom Harlow walking down the catwalk. It was a surprise, considering how the model disappeared from the limelight during her heyday and was last cast in 2012. Her training as a ballerina many years ago shows in each stride she took while wearing a micro floral dress that she wore with a sheer skirt made in black lace. Perhaps getting carried away by the reaction at her appearance, Harlow was eventually pictured beaming and laughing by the end.
Image credits: Getty Images, Victor Boyko, lmaxtree, Vogue, Irving Penn, Arthur Elgort, Alexander McQueen