• Karina Ochnik

Fashioned from Nature

Drawing inspiration from nature is nothing new in the world of fashion. There is probably not a single artist who wouldn’t be inspired, even on a subconscious level, by that which Mother Nature offers. For how can one not be inspired by all that is life itself and what makes us alive?


With the coronavirus pandemic, restrictions, uncertainty, oftentimes also loneliness, it seems that as a society, we have regained the understanding of what is important. Connections. Connections with other human beings, the relationship with our own selves, but also our relationship with the life-giving force of nature. What else do we have?


The world has changed. Has fashion changed, too? According to Donatella Versace – it has.

The world has changed and we have changed. We have been repeating this almost as a mantra for months, but at the end of the day, for a designer this means to start all over again. Donatella Versace

But what does it really mean, “To start all over again”? In Donatella’s view, the role of Versace in the post-pandemic reality will serve as:

“An example of inclusion, of mutual support, and acceptance of what is different from us.” Donatella Versace

A breeze of hope


Her 2021 spring-summer collection was inspired by nature, depths of the sea, vibrant colours and shine. Orange, gold, blue, and turquoise are colours of the underwater life of coral reefs; a fresh breeze, particularly when contrasted with dull daily routines and the loss that many associate with the year 2020.


Using her designer brilliance, Versace invites us to a better bright-coloured future. The year 2021 is full of hope reflected in the designer’s latest collection. Its symbolism entails not only hope, freshness, and a beginning of a new stage, but, primarily, openness, and self-confidence.


The brand history has come full circle with the key motif of the collection shaped as a medusa, which remains the brand trademark for years now. However, Donatella emphasises that this year, the medusa symbol plays a far more significant part and can be interpreted in many ways.

“With these images I wanted to portray the modern Medusa. Or better, to highlight how her many faces can be drastically different from one another and every woman can actually be Medusa. All of us, with our differences and unique characters, we can express ourselves also in the way we decide to dress.” Donatella Versace

Rebirth time is now


The message is beautiful. Why wouldn’t it be fully conveyed by means other than words? Donatella stresses that women are diverse just as diverse is life in the depths of seas and oceans.


Interestingly, for the first time in history, plus-size models appear on the Versace catwalk. It is a great step forward not only for the brand itself, but also for the history of fashion. I wonder how many years it would take us to see mature, short, and also disabled women part of fashion shows? In fact, all these women are modern-day Medusas! Aren’t we?


Models at the show look like goddesses from Sandro Botticelli’s painting The Birth of Venus, their hair as if immersed in water just a moment ago, their skin shimmering. They are a symbol of strength, beauty, and femininity.


In spite of the title, Botticelli’s masterpiece doesn’t show the moment of Venus’ birth but Venus descending down from a shell to land; likewise, this is the concept presented by the models strolling down the catwalk most confidently. It is a metaphor of rebirth; of entering into a new phase.


May I be a “Modern Medusa” too?


Acceptance, self-confidence, feminine strength – it all can be noticed in Donatella’s work. After all, the designer is famous for solidarity with women and her big heart. It is all the more important to keep reminding people that many women still yearn to be noticed, also on the catwalk.


Women are not just skinny or plus-size. Diversity is present on a much deeper level. Just as we find diversity and multicolour to be important for nature, we should ensure inclusivity and diversity on many levels – in all areas of life, without disregarding the fashion industry. It has a powerful impact on how women perceive one another.


Every one of us wants to feel like a Goddess/Medusa/Venus and we all deserve it.


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