Chess grandmasters assert that there are two fundamental moves to make at the beginning of the game; take dominion of the centre of the board and bolster your presence against intruding forces.
So, for Versace’s return to Milan Fashion Week after a string of off-season shows in Los Angeles and Cannes, the proverbial ‘Queen’ of the house, Donatella Versace, cast a chessboard of her own, employing models as pawns, rooks and knights to move about as she feels fit in her effort to prove that despite her absence, Milan is hers to conquer.
Another take on the marbled checkerboard setting of the luxuriate’s Spring/Summer 2024 show was perhaps that the designer may have caught up on the hysteria surrounding The Queens Gambit, with a 1960s coquettish-inspired collection seamlessly integrating the mid-Century Americana era of the viral Netflix show.
These babydoll minis and chintzy chainmail maxi dresses aren’t fitting for chess prodigy Beth Harmon, but rather reflective of the saccharine nature of the era that Gianni Versace referenced in his Fall/Winter 1995 collection.
Flanked between the bondage-influenced FW92 collection and butterfly-adorned SS95 collection—which Dua Lipa and Donatella looked to for their recent co-designed ‘La Vacanza’ cruise show—Gianni looked to the girlish retrofuturism of the swinging sixties as a catalyst.
Now, over 25 years later, Versace is once again referencing itself by bringing back the checkerboard motif and Fembot-silhouettes explored a quarter of a century ago. Hallmarks of 90s optimism came through in the high-octane colour palette and sweet modish shapes, though the collection was arguably more Lolita than Vampira.
Though Donatella felt the Mary Quant-meets-Versace aesthetic was a piece of the luxuriate’s archives worth revisiting, it wasn’t the only comeback made on the runway.
Indeed, legendary supermodel Claudia Schiffer made a triumphant return to close the show, proving that Donatella’s instincts for repackaging the 90s would always satisfy our appetites. Checkmate, Versace.
This article originally appeared on Grazia International