jennifer lopez walks for versace
In that iconic green dress.
On the cusp of a new millennium — twenty years ago to be precise — Jennifer Lopez wore a navel-plunging tropical-print gown from Versace’s SS00 collection at the Grammy’s and broke the baby internet. “At the time, it was the most popular search query we had ever seen,” wrote then-executive chairman of Google Eric Schmidt in 2015. “But we had no surefire way of getting users exactly what they wanted: JLo wearing that dress.” The result was the invention of Google Image Search. It was created because of that very fashion moment. Two decades later, it broke the internet again. Jennifer Lopez closed the Versace show last night in that very dress (remarkably it still fits at 50) and, as if it were an oracular symbol of the culture that would come — of fashion becoming entertainment, of the red-carpet becoming a catwalk — the phone-wielding audience projected it onto timelines and digital platforms everywhere, the image going viral once again. This time, it was in seconds. The pace of communication may have supersonically sped up, but the sentiment remained the same.
How genius of Donatella Versace. The designer partnered with Google — and it brought a news-worthy moment to the show that had everyone whooping on their feet with ear-to-ear smiles. Fashion can be fabulous, and this was a truly prescient fashion moment for the digital age — a nod to technology’s impact on fashion and the seismic shifts of 21st century. Of course, we’ve seen this dress before, but its reprisal marks a towering height for fashion’s omniscient nostalgia. What was significant about this, however, was that Donatella was looking back at herself, not her brother. JLo in that dress at the was to Donatella what Elizabeth Hurley in the iconic safety-pin black gown was to Gianni Versace. It marked a collision of fashion and pop culture. At the time, it marked a personal milestone for her and the brand after a rocky few years finding her feet following Gianni’s death — this time round it acted as a powerful totem of Donatella-era own contribution to Versace’s heritage.
Though it wasn’t all about JLo, despite what your Instagram feed may suggest. There was also a full collection of modern Versace. Throughout it there were suites of abbreviated, square-shouldered Milanese black power numbers: cinched-in cocktail dresses, some of which came with perpendicular shirting worn underneath, others compellingly chic in all-black. Then there were the 2020 versions of that famous jungle print, worn with tie-dye t-shirts and bodysuits, neon-inflected checks and sequinned sliders in the place of stilettos and skimpy swimwear. Tangerine and fuchsia were an additional prominent colour combo, fabulously off-kilter in the slinky chainmail dresses covered in spangles of pailette flowers. The look was unapologetically Versace — which may as well mean sexy in Italian — and JLo closing the show in her iconic number, looking just as fabulous as she did way back when, only reiterated the prescient and enduring appeal of it.