As Jennifer Lopez sashayed around the circular runways, her curvy silhouette only just covered by that leafy dress, Donatella Versace was having an emotional moment.

“I can’t believe it’s 20 years,” the designer said, referring to J. Lo’s appearance at the Grammy Awards 2000 – the instant when Donatella found the confidence to create at the start of a new millennium, after the death of her brother Gianni in 1997.

But the Versace green leaf dress gave birth to something else that changed all our lives: Google Image Search, born from the chaos of millions of people around the world searching online after the Grammys to find photos of J. Lo wearing the plunging outfit, its palm trees waving and swaying on the Lopez body as if in a tropical storm.

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©Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images

This celebration in Milan during the Spring/Summer 2020 Fashion Week was more than a look back at a magic moment – as in the 20th anniversary memorial to Gianni at the Spring/Summer 2018 collections, when the original supermodels walked the runway together to recreate their ‘Model Squad’ days for the designer in the Nineties.

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Donatella stood on the catwalk and pressed the Google Search icon, watching as a vast number of images spread and spilled over the screen. Cut to J. Lo today swaying down the runway.

It turns out that Donatella herself is none too techno. “I never Google myself – I’m too scared – so I go on everyone else’s devices,” she admitted. “But what is so nice is that with this project I met young 20-year-olds and I was so happy to have a conversation with these people. Now it’s technology that inspires us,” she concluded.

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Indeed. The show itself was not looking for glam statements and even included a pair of jeans, just right for Silicon Valley, with a wide-shouldered trench coat. first part of the presentation was of black, this-could-be-the-office clothes, with only a sweetheart neckline or wide shoulders to reinterpret Versace’s “strong woman” story. Let’s call it tailoring and workwear in a sexy way.

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Then came colour: denim blue, the palm-tree green, and also Day-Glo pink and then more green shades. A blood-orange top slashed at the front to reveal pink over the bust moved towards more decorative pieces, but there was still a simple black curvy-topped dress, like the one Donatella wore when she took her bow to face-off the flamboyance of J. Lo.

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The designer has done well to navigate from flagrant sexiness to a vision of powerful women in control of their lives. Let’s think of that delicate balance, like Jennifer Lopez keeping control of the slit-and-drape palm tree dress.

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©Jacopo Raule / Getty Images