What better analogy for Dua Lipa’s meteoric relationship with Versace than the life cycle of a butterfly; a motif synonymous with both the Italian luxuriate and the bona fide pop sensation. Over the course of a few years, Dua and Donatella, two European fashion mavens who, independent of each other, can be held responsible for making fashion noughtie again, have undergone a metamorphosis of such.
Now, on the Côte d’Azur in a lavish chateau in Cannes, the pair have emerged from a chrysalis with a kaleidoscopic resort-inspired collection that codifies Lipa’s on-stage and real-life fashion persona into an easily digested capsule set to ignite a vacation spirit in us all.
Over 40 looks, Versace and Lipa chart their inextricable history, taking the wearer of this collection through a journey of their respective history from model to muse and now maker. From as early as 2019, Versace has dressed Lipa in their signature slinky chainmail minis, high-octane embellished sets and signature medusa-head safety pins, so naturally these pieces served as the foundation for the balmy “La Vacanza” collection.
It’s clear the modus operandi the design duo were extrapolating on was catered to fusing Lipa’s penchant for the 90s and Y2K silhouettes with that golden-age period in the luxuriate’s history. Future nostalgia, if you will.
Despite being co-created by the pair, a taste of Gianni Versace seeped into the collection’s fabric, with cuts and colours reminiscent of the distinct flair that earned him the title “king of glamour”.
The first five pretty in pink looks were saturated with ‘90s style staples, like a form-fitting suit skirt set, low-rise trousers and belt-length bottoms moonlighting as skirts, clearly continuing a dialogue from the brand’s conservative-meets-vampish Fall/Winter 2023 show hosted in Los Angeles. However, when set against the dreamy blue backdrop of the French Riviera, these razor-cut tailored essentials exude a sense of relaxation and serenity.
When Amelia Hamlin stepped out on the runway, the collection took a theatrical turn, with the pieces and presentation reminiscent of the high-octane and exhibitive runways of yore. Turn-of-the-millennium metallics found their way onto strapless mini dresses accented with denim hardware, coastal cowgirl-approved cowboy boots and provided a new variation of the new repeat hobo bag style. Elsewhere, models sauntered down the runway side by side in terry scantily clad towelling sets, diamanté flip flops and even hair towels wrapped around their heads in blue and pink colourways. Very Paris and Nicole Hilton takes Miami Beach circa 2003.
In a Shalom Harlow and Amber Valletta at Todd Oldman’s Spring/Summer 1995 collection way—which coincidentally also featured a melange of high-shine, upper thigh-grazing mini skirts—models stopped at random points on the runway to twirl and turn, offering different perspectives of the clothing much to the intimately-set audiences delight.
The back half of the collection is where Versace and Lipa find their stride, with turbo-charged prints and perennial saturation of a butterfly design. It would’ve read as kitschy if not for Versace and Lipa’s innate affinity for wearing the motif.
Here, the pair have masterfully reinvented the codes of Versace’s Spring/Summer 1995 collection, with the styling and prominence of illustrated butterfly, ladybug and floral symbols reminiscent of this covered body-conscious collection.
Before Lipa stans come at us for failing to mention that the butterfly is a Lipa signature we have to acknowledge that a) Versace did this first and b) reprising this iconic collection is a masterful stroke that plays into the zeitgeist’s penchant for reclaiming anything with the slightest tinge of nostalgia.
“Just look at Dua’s Atelier Versace designed gilded butterfly dress she wore to the 63rd Grammy Awards” we see them typing on Twitter, to which we respond: “An obvious homage to the dress Naomi Campbell wore to Versace’s 1999 Diamonds are Forever party”.
The back half of the collection saw these symbols flit their way onto polka-dot swimsuits and red-carpet-approved sheer gowns.
Fortunately for Lipa, she needn’t worry about employing a stylist for the remainder of the year, with this collection serving as a sartorial answer to any occasion. From pop-star off-duty LAX-approved ensembles, to sensual late-night dresses apt for attending a soiree on the Croisette in, Versace has the star indefinitely covered.
As a result, the collection is signalling the Y2K butterfly aesthetic to flutter back into our lives.
Of course, the collection wouldn’t be complete without Lipa reprising her role as a pseudo-model by once again walking the runway as she did for Versace’s Spring/Summer 2022 show. Ending the collection by walking out hand-in-hand with Donatella, it’s clear that Dua herself has completed a full sartorial evolution, with her wings stretched and ready to take flight into the next stratosphere of superstardom.
Keep scrolling for Versace’s Summer “La Vacanza” collection campaign, starring Dua Lipa.
This story originally appeared on Grazia International.