There are trendy designer pieces, and then there are frocks that take their place in fashion history. There is no question where the “J.Lo Dress” belongs. The Versace piece, which the singer-dancer-actress wore to the 42nd Grammy Awards in 2000 is very memorable that the mention of it needs no accompanying photo. It’s back in the news however, because the designer and fashion house responsible for it is bringing it back for 2019, and we are all thrilled.
The gown that established Versace’s place in fashion
Versace has no shortage of intriguing garbs, courtesy of both Gianni and Donatella Versace. The gown in question was designed by the latter, who wore it herself even before it made its way to the Grammys. Another celebrity to wear it was Ginger Spice Geri Halliwell. It was best associated with Jennifer Lopez, however, and the benefits were two-way: Lopez donning it became a turning point for the brand post-Gianni as much as it did for Donatella, and the gown propelled Lopez’ rising star even further after hit songs If You Had My Love and Waiting For Tonight.
Lopez did not pick the dress thinking that it would create quite a controversy, and the media attention it received was a shock considering that it was not the first time the gown was spotted in public. The design, which included an extremely plunging neckline, foliage print, high slit, and a brooch that seems to hold it together, had people heading over to Google to preview the green and blue silk chiffon dress. Search engines weren’t new at this point, but it was only then that Google Image Search came to life. It was such a popular query that Google decided to develop the service so that it could give netizens the actual photo they were searching for.
The dress is still in J.Lo’s possession. She wore a reinterpretation of the piece in 2014, but the bold 2000 choice is what stuck in people’s memories. Replicas of the dress were donated by Versace to two museums. One can be seen in the Fashion Museum in Somerset, England, and the other in the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, California.
Versace reinterprets the dress in 2019, and takes inspiration from one other high-profile creation
Versace brought its pre-fall 2019 show to New York, having the event take place at the New York Stock Exchange. The event was star-studded: models such as Kaia Gerber and Gigi Hadid strutted on the runway, clad in fresh pieces from the Italian fashion house, and celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Blake Lively were spotted on the front row.
Donatella’s 2018 take on the J.Lo dress, however, is the undisputed showstopper of the event. The dress, worn by supermodel Amber Valletta, was picked by the designer to conclude the show. Valletta was the very same model who wore the original piece almost twenty years earlier. Even though the frock is now decorated with hearts rather than jungle leaves, and a red embellished brooch rather than green, the inspiration is unmistakable.
Versace dove further into its archives for the pre-fall collection, featuring oversized safety pins on some of the pieces, which is best associated with “THAT dress”. Elizabeth Hurley wore it back in 1994, during the premiere of Four Weddings and A Funeral, and launched her into international stardom the same way the J.Lo Dress affected Lopez’ career. Both Gigi Hadid and Kaia Gerber wore garments adorned with the pins. If you want to grab them, you need not wait long—some will be available for pre-order on select retailers later this month.
Image credits: Versace, Getty Images, Bob Riha Jr, JP Yim, RexSipa / REX / Shutterstock, WireImage