51-year-old model outshines teen daughter in sexy high-slit gown on Versace runway

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Claudia Schiffer, Donatella Versace, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, and Helena Christensen walk the runway at the Versace show during Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2018 on Sept. 22, 2017, in Milan, Italy. (Photo: Venturelli/WireImage)

In July, the fashion world remembered Gianni Versace upon the 20th anniversary of the designer’s untimely death. But the tributes didn’t end there.

On Friday, the legendary designer’s sister Donatella Versace invited former first lady of France Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, and Helena Christensen to recreate the famous 1994 Versace ad campaign shot by Richard Avedon they starred in — with a 2017 twist. George Michael’s “Freedom” played the models posed on a platform in gold gowns.

The reception was more than warm. Anthony Vaccarello, Alessandro Michele, Pier Paolo Piccioli — creative directors at Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, and Valentino, respectively — stood to applaud Donatella.

Every audience member seemed to pull out their smartphone to capture the moment that was arguably as iconic as the first, staged two decades earlier.

Social media reaction was similarly sentimental.

While the finale was all about the original ’90s supermodels, the rest of the Italian brand’s Spring 2018 collection featured today’s top catwalkers — including Crawford’s daughter, Kaia Gerber, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Taylor Hill, Lexi Boling, and Candice Swanepoel.

Kaia Gerber, Cindy Crawford’s daughter, walked the Versace SS18 show before her mother made an appearance in the show’s finale. (Photo: Getty Images)
Bella Hadid at the Versace SS18 show. (Photo: Getty Images)
Gigi Hadid at the Versace SS18 show. (Photo: Getty Images)

All of the looks were noticeably Versace, with many ensembles using archival patterns on silhouettes updated and refined for the 21st century woman.

“Over the years I’ve seen so many homages to Gianni Versace and direct reference to Gianni Versace,” Donatella told the New York Times. “But I didn’t have the courage to do it myself. I was always afraid to touch the work of Gianni. I thought I would be criticized: ‘She isn’t Gianni.’ I thought I was going to fail. I thought I was going to fail. I mean, I did fail for a while! But then I realized: I was there for all of it. And the younger girls — Kendall, Gigi — kept asking what it was all about. Because you know, he died before there was social media.”

While rumors have been swirling that a nostalgic show would be the perfect swan song, the 62-year-old refuted the rumors that she’s retiring: “Where would they get a platinum blonde like me? I’m irreplaceable.”

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Alexandra Mondalek is a writer for Yahoo Style + Beauty. Follow her on Twitter @amondalek.