Donatella’s reign as the chief creative officer at Versace has been rather disappointing and repetitive, especially considering the genius of her late brother Gianni that she was forced to follow. It seems as though we saw the same, disorganized collection, season after season, show after show. That is not to say that I am not a fan of Donatella or her work. Rather, it is an acknowledgment of areas in which she could have done better and maybe that time is now. I was surprisingly pleased with the new spring 2021 campaign.
I am impressed with the cohesiveness and continuity of this campaign in accordance with Versace’s latest runway show that embraced an under-the-sea theme. I enjoy continuity within brands and like being able to recognize concepts that go together, and that is exactly the case with this campaign. The specific inspiration for these shots was Medusa, an approach to the under the sea theme that I really appreciate. The models- who I will get into later- sported bright colors and a wet hair look that aligns perfectly with the theme. The star fish earrings Hailey Bieber wore were an obvious choice but one that maintained the pleasing aesthetic, as did the black, textured bra that peeked above the sea-animal printed dress.
It is probably just my memory, but it feels as though the past several shows have taken a lot of inspiration from Gianni’s collections in the 90s- maybe a little too much. I am the most nostalgic person on Earth and love a collection paying homage to the late designer, but at some point it gets repetitive and makes it difficult for Donatella to develop her own brand as a creative director. The animal prints and black looks were getting a bit old, so I am enjoying the incorporation of more unique, creative designs with bright colors.
The campaign was shot by the iconic photographer duo Mert and Marcus who have shot for Versace countless times before. Models wore looks from the SS 2021 line and displayed the Le Medusa handbag which I think is cute. Is it anything revolutionary, never-before-seen? Not at all. But my interest in this campaign isn’t because of the product itself but because of the quality of the overall creativity and inspiration. I do enjoy the colored versions of the bag and the clunky, chainlink straps, and think they fit well with the theme of the collection.
My interest in the fashion industry really took off because of my interests in models. It was Cara and Joan and Kate and Binx who drew me into the intense world that surrounds them. And, regardless of what others say, I firmly believe that models play a major role in the success and quality of shows and shoots. Yes, the clothing speaks the loudest. But, someone who is serving the look with intensity and ferocity is going to make the clothes look a whole lot better than an unsure, awkward model. This is the best shoot I have seen in a while for some of the models in this shoot. Cough Cough Hailey and Kendall.
I am not someone who goes online and hates on the nepotism models because of how they made their name. I am a huge Kardashian fan and love all the celebrity models, but I will acknowledge the lapse in some of their effort and the quality of their work. Kendall, for instance, is noticeably less passionate about her work than other models. But, this was a great campaign for her and I think a lot of it had to do with the photographers with whom she is comfortable with.
The black, yellow, and gold combination looks amazing on her and she is serving face with her eyes- it really looks like her eyes are alive. I think Hailey did great as well and truly showed off her ability to fit a certain vibe. I enjoyed seeing Mona Tougaard in such a major campaign with so many famous faces and hope to see more of her for Versace in the future. And I absolutely love Precious Lee for Versace. She looks amazing and fierce and confident, and I appreciate seeing diversity under such a large fashion house. I think all of the models did amazing and fit the aesthetic of the campaign beautifully which definitely contributed to my attraction to the pictures.
This whole campaign was a major step in the right direction for the Versace brand and Donatella. Everything from the clothing to the accessories to the hair and makeup was cohesive and emulated the energy of the under the sea theme. I hope to see more work life this for these models and Donatella in the future. What do you think about it?