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It's a Barbie world at Versace

Donatella Versace tapped the Barbie zeitgeist with a collection that managed to be both girlish and sophisticated at the same time

Models wear creations as part of the Versace women's Spring Summer 2024 collection presented in Milan, Italy, on 22 September(AP)


LAST PUBLISHED 23.09.2023  |  05:00 PM IST

Rain forced more than one fashion house to scramble for indoor locations in Milan and fashionistas to find a way to move about the gridlocked Italian city without the threat of a drenching Friday.

Some scenes from inside the runway shows on the third day of Milan Fashion Week’s mostly womenswear previews for Spring-Summer 2024.

Donatella Versace tapped the Barbie zeitgeist with a collection that managed to be both girlish and sophisticated at the same time.

In Versace’s Barbie world, gingham and checks were the stars, in mostly pastels, the perfect palette for straight mini-dresses, flouncy shorts and collarless skirt suits, featuring pretty details like covered buttons and bow-shaped barrettes.

For Power Barbie, there were black-and-white check suits, leather combos and cocktail dresses, worn with an open-toe heel that pulled up into a leather sock. Standout looks included a checked coat that fanned around the form and a padded V-neck black cocktail dress.

Also read: The best looks from London Fashion Week

And where there is Barbie, Ken is sure to follow, wearing a blue silken shirt tucked lazily into black trousers, or a lime-green leisure suit. He is not above borrowing Barbie’s embroidered twinset.

Versace knows how to close a runway show, bringing out Gigi Hadid in a slinky yellow dress with a plunging neckline, followed by Claudia Schiffer in a lime-and-silver check slip dress. Kendall Jenner opened the show in a satiny white shift and silver shoes.


Sharon Stone, Quinta Brunson and Olivia Palermo had front-row seats for the curtain call of Tod’s designer Walter Chiapponi, who is moving on after four years at the brand.


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Models traversed a cavernous workshop filled with carpentry, classical statues and the painted backdrops for La Scala opera house productions, shadowed by a robot video camera on wheels. The setting underlined Tod’s fusing of traditional Italian craftsmanship with technology.

Chiapponi’s swan song collection focused on essential luxury, featuring clean lines and an understated color story in mostly muted monochromes but enlivened by some acid green.

Leather goods claimed a starring role. Wide belts defined the silhouette, giving shape to long shirt dresses and crisp, airy blouson tops, and offering utility with tiny, snapped pockets and a hook for mesh gloves.

Deconstructed tailoring in jackets and vests had a feminine charm, paired wide pleated skirts or trousers. The collection closed with fine sleeveless knit dresses clinging to the form and displaying surprise button detailing down the back.

Napa mules and a woven sandal were the shoes of the season. Tod’s trademark handbags, including the geometric T-Box and the embossed leather T Timeless, were cradled like precious cargo.

Chiapponi was celebrated backstage by friends and admirers. An announcement on a successor is pending. 


Guests at Sunnei were invited to voice their inner critics with paddleboard score cards, rating each runway look on a scale of 1 to 10. As if judging the collection is not what the crowd came for in the first place.

“Sunnei is the opportunity not to hate fashion. Ancora,’’ the invisible emcee said, using the Italian for “again," a clear nudge at the highly anticipated Gucci preview right before Sunnei’s show that used the “ancora" tagline as it set a new design course.

Designers Loris Messina's and Simone Rizzo's irreverent streak ran long in the collection, with proportion plays and unusual materials. Oversized layering contrasted with sporty leotards with stretch skirts. Footwear included neoprene booties with nubby heels. 

Also read: Milan fashion week: Max Mara keeps it simple and chic