5 things to know about Versace’s sorbet-coloured chequerboard SS24 show

By Anders Christian Madsen

Photo: GoRunway

Versace’s pastel spring/summer '24 offering was a supermodel-studded extravaganza. Here, Anders Christian Madsen reports from Milan Fashion Week


Photo: Daniele Oberrauch /

Claudia Schiffer closed the show

Taking Barbiecore to another anatomical level, Claudia Schiffer – 53, with a portrait in the attic – closed the Versace show in a second-skin chequerboard chainmail dress. Like the blonde bombshell edition of a Grecian statue, she personified a collection steeped in the timeless trademarks of the house, updated for a new generational mindset. The same evening, Apple premiered its The Super Models docuseries.


Centred around four of Schiffer’s fellow legends – with an appearance by Donatella Versace – the buzz around it is testament to the enduring fascination (and agelessness) of the original supers across generations, as well as the culture that surrounded them in the early ’90s. Versace played a huge part in shaping that mentality and the attitude that came with it, and this season’s collection was very much the wardrobe-raiding child of that legacy.


Photo: Daniele Oberrauch /

The palette was sorbet-coloured

“It’s a powerful woman with a touch of sweetness,” Donatella Versace said in a preview, surrounded by sorbet-coloured cotton tweed suits and chainmail dresses adorned with her brother Gianni’s chequerboard motif from spring/summer 1982. “There’s a sweetness in the menswear, too. He shows his personality through softness,” she added. The collection presented a shared wardrobe that felt like a cementation of the times we’ve been living through lately.

After a pastel-clad Barbie-core summer of bubblegum-chewing Gen Zs and the generations in their wake, Versace’s girlie skirt-suits and cartoon tailoring were a walking manifesto to the zeitgeist. Of course, her brother did all of this for spring/summer 1995, but what’s 30 years between fashion proposals and mainstream evolution?


Photo: Daniele Oberrauch /

The chequerboard reigned supreme

The chequerboard motif from ’82 was the emblem of the collection. Echoed in the floor of Versace’s swirly mega runway, it provided the heightened graphic value Donatella said she had been feeling for the season. Applied to kicky ’60s dresses and sculpted skirt-suits, and new takes on the bowling suit for men, its geometry paved the way for an exploration of checks in little ladylike suits and was echoed in the construction of chainmail creations that turned up the volume on Versace’s sass factor.

“The collection is joyful and sharp,” she said. “The Versace woman is free and vibrant. The Versace man is confident and daring.” Sampling Madonna’s “Justify My Love” from 1990 – which is very much back in rotation after also being played during seating at Tom Ford the night before – the soundtrack underlined those sentiments.


Photo: Daniele Oberrauch /

It was steeped in pop culture

“We designed this jacket for Prince for his tour. He had it in every colour,” Versace said, pointing at the single-breasted men’s jacket that featured throughout the show. She was referring to one of the artist’s early ’90s excursions, and the pop cultural effortlessness of her reference spoke volumes about the historical moodboard of coolness represented within the collection.

If Versace is speaking to new generations – the ones who have made their own supermodels out of Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, who hit the runway before Schiffer closed the ball – it’s a mentality that’s buying into the vault of an ’80s and ’90s fashion and entertainment culture that was entirely its own. The pop cultural firsts created by Prince, Michael Jackson and Madonna, who all wore Versace, will never happen again. But through this house, you can still buy into the spirit of that time, even if you were born after the millennium.


Photo: Daniele Oberrauch /

Versace took the opportunity to premiere two new bags: the Athena, a large tote bag in chequerboard or tonal Barocco jacquard adorned with a big old Versace logo, and the Medusa ’95 handbag, which riffed on the hardware launched by Gianna Versace as bag decorations that year. It was complemented by a men’s slingback shoe of the same name, as well as shoes with ribbon bows and some very ’90s cork-sole sandals.