The heyday of rock and roll seems to influence Donatella Versace season after season. It’s not a hard sell, seeing as how models and rock stars are often seen canoodling and Donatella herself often sites musicians as inspirations for her collections. Her latest outing spotlighted one of rock and roll’s most recognizable icons — and a paramour to a model or two — Axl Rose. But Versace’s glamazons were more than just rock star arm candy, they were dressed to kill, ready to snatch that mic right out of any singer’s hand and steal the spotlight for themselves.
As the lead singer of Guns N’ Roses, Axl had a distinct look. Old t-shirts, his signature bandana and plenty of leather. That rock star mystique was something he pioneered, taking bits of grunge, a taste of glam rock and infusing it all with his own personal style. As Guns N’ Roses gained a wider audience, racking up Billboard hits and touring worldwide, Rose caught the eye of models such as Erin Everly and later, Stephanie Seymour, who would appear in the music videos for “November Rain” and “Don’t Cry.” And if that wasn’t enough to earn Rose major fashion cred, he signed off on a GNR collab with Converse and inspired Japanese designer Takahiro Miyashita to create a whole collection of Axl Rose inspired clothes for his label Number (N)ine.
Today, Rose is as well known for being a recluse as he was for being the face of one of music’s biggest acts, but even in hiding, his signature style inspired Donatella Versace to create a collection that’ll have a whole new generation of groupies clamoring to knock down his door.
Donatella’s girls aren’t known for being subtle — it’s all or nothing on the Versace runway. So when she sent her army of rock ‘n roll sirens out, it was fill tilt and turned up to 10. Models wore rock staples, such as denim jackets, leather pants and beat-up tour tees, but each piece was re-imagined with classic Versace details. The jean jackets were slashed and studded and denim pants were inset with peekaboo lace panels. What appeared to be vintage Guns N’ Roses tees were actually bejeweled Versace reinterpretations, replacing rock iconography with Medusa heads and Greek keys.
Was it over the top? Of course, especially with the addition of belt buckles fit for rodeo riders and body chains that carved out sexy swathes of skin punctuated by Medusa emblems, but like all good performers know, you have to leave it all out on the stage. And with the rock-fueled exuberance that she filled the runway, consider this Donatella’s version of dropping the mic. You’re welcome to try and one-up this show, but we wouldn’t want to challenge a master.
Images courtesy RockHall and Vogue