As the sun set over the Mediterranean on Tuesday evening, Donatella Versace and Dua Lipa unveiled their La Vacanza summer collection atop the heights of Cannes. The neo-classical pink Château de la Croix des Gardes served as the backdrop, offering panoramic views of Cannes, the Lérins Islands, and the fortress that once held the enigmatic Man in the Iron Mask.
A collaborative effort between Donatella and Dua, the collection was immediately made available for purchase in Versace stores and on their website after the show. NBA star Dwyane Wade and Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton shared a table, alongside actress Simone Ashley, British actors Jason Statham and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, the groovy Rina Sawayama, and visiting K-Pop stars.
The Queen of Fashion and the Music Supernova opened their gala spectacle donned in a classic pink Versace suit-dress, elegantly tailored with three buttons and flap pockets. They swiftly escalated the brilliance by showcasing a mini skirt and a bustier top, each adorned with two Medusa-head strap attachments. This detail pays homage to Dua’s iconic “Don’t Start Now” music video.
The collection featured metallic rose and azure mini cocktail dresses, beloved by Donatella’s favorites like Anna Evers. The collection skillfully combined two prints—a colorful Smarties-inspired polka dot pattern and a butterfly motif. These prints adorned palazzo pants, mini jackets, wide-leg jumpsuits, and chiffon silk dresses. The printed mini cocktail dress is available for €3,500 on the Versace website, while the pink bustier costs €2,900.
The collection also included crowd-pleasers like a sleeveless butterfly-print bodysuit paired with a light turquoise mini skirt, as well as several ethereal lingerie looks. These were all presented by models with voluminous Barbie-esque hairstyles.
Ultimately, the most powerful looks of the show were black cocktail dresses, thigh-high slits, and Medusa-buttoned harnesses. These striking ensembles were showcased by models such as Vittoria Ceretti. The runway also featured elegant rings, like the €520 Medusa ring, blending the iconic house logo with red and purple semi-precious ladybugs or a marine butterfly. The ring made appearances in a pre-show video on Instagram, emerging from an azure swimming pool or adorning Lipa’s hand alongside a live butterfly.
Models of all sizes and shapes graced a catwalk built above the castle’s swimming pool.
The fashion house live-streamed the show on their website, hosted by model and actor Iván De Pineda, interspersing images of distant sailboats and champagne-sipping guests—some dressed in the collection. This clear, focused, and smartly commercialized show marked Donatella’s first runway event since the one in Los Angeles last March, which Dua Lipa also attended. Although the decision to have Pineda commentate on the show live seemed somewhat perplexing.
“Dua Lipa is incredibly talented, so I was immediately drawn to the idea of working with her,” explained Donatella during a pre-show press conference. “We have a long-standing relationship. It started with the Brit Awards and then continued with the Grammy Awards. We have done many things together over time,” replied Dua.
“This story has completely touched me, especially because Donatella embodies incredible values that resonate with me,” continued the British singer, dressed in black jeans and a bolero jacket.
Discussing the creative process, Donatella, sporting a pink kissing pantsuit, explained that the duo delved into the house’s archives and pondered, “How could Dua wear these things, but in a different way?”
Given Versace’s deep connection with music (Madonna, Elton John, Prince, and Dua Lipa), the collaboration between Dua and Donatella felt like a natural fit. Fashion insiders will tell you that some of the most iconic concerts hosted by a fashion house were Prince’s performances for Versace during the opening of Teatro Versace in Milan and the collaboration with H&M in New York.
Fashion creation, according to Dua, “is a very different process from music. I feel like Versace’s energy has inspired me. I can’t draw at all, but I’ve learned to understand the language of design and bounce off ideas. The core value of Versace is family, because it’s a real family.”
In a warm exchange, Donatella smiled and said, “It was a lot of work, but having that voice beside me was incredible. Dua is a modern woman, confident and strong. I wanted the collection to reflect what’s happening today. For me, it’s about pleasure, freedom, and opulence.”
“Holiday clothing, summer colors, fun, and freedom, but also a touch of audacity! Although we also aimed to create something unmistakably Versace, so you don’t need to look at the label to know what it is,” Lipa enthusiastically added.
When asked about the decision to adopt a “see now, buy now” approach for the runway show, the blonde-haired designer responded, “We live in a digital world: making people wait for months to buy what they see today is fading away.” This seemed to resonate with star guest Dwyane Wade, who arrived in a black crystal-covered vest, reminiscent of his “early modeling days” as a Versace model for the brand’s eyewear campaign, under the direction of Mario Sorrenti.
“The thing is, you have to bring the same attitude to a photoshoot as you do on the court,” Dwyane Wade declared, summarizing the atmosphere of the show.
As the night came to a close, the enchanting collaboration between Donatella Versace and Dua Lipa left a lasting impression on the glamorous setting of Cannes. La Vacanza collection’s vibrant, daring, and opulent designs captured the essence of the modern woman, celebrating the fusion of fashion and music in true Versace style.