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These ‘90s Versace Runway Beauty Looks Are Still So Relevant, Nearly 30 Years Later


Long before Ariana Grande made cat-eye liner and a high ponytail the go-to combination of the flirtatious and fashion-forward, there was the Versace Fall/Winter 1992 runway. According to Vogue, Gianni Versace dubbed it Miss S&M — a sneak peek of the sculptural and seductive pieces that are, in retrospect, a hallmark of the designer. It's a runway where the clothes solidly took the wheel: Fashion critic Suzy Menkes remarked "I don't want to be in bondage" upon seeing the show. However, as the 30th anniversary of the iconic collection draws near, it's time to temporarily shift focus to the models themselves. Or, more specifically, their lips.

Here is the thing about Miss S&M not often captured on mood boards and history books — it was about so much more than leather. Undoubtedly a love letter to provocateurs and a window into the underground for the masses to peek into, the show offered more than fetishistic textures and gold hardware. The show began with Linda Evangelista in gothic snow bunny attire; Nadège du Bospertus in Look 8 gave way to a series of monochromatic suiting; Look 33 ushered in Naomi Campbell in rodeo queen fringe, a motif reinforced by the four next styles.

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Through it all, though? Slim brows, cheek-elongating contour, smoky eyeshadow finished with dark lashes, and skin-complementing nude lips. This was the early '90s, when brownish, rosy nudes were the shades on everyone's lips, and this show only proved its versatility. Night out at the club? Attending a sartorial rodeo? Planning your next ski trip? Pack a nude lip.

Guy Marineau/Conde Nast Collection/Getty Images
Guy Marineau/Conde Nast Collection/Getty Images

As you're probably well aware, the color has firmly rooted itself back in fashion's collective consciousness. Remember Kylie Cosmetics' brown-tinted, matte-as-can-be lip kits selling out in a minute back in 2015? Those nostalgic lip colors never went away after that, even if the current mode du jour favors a glossier, more hydrated finish. Moreover, brands continue to expand the beauty industry's once-limited scope on the word "nude"; clock Mented Cosmetics, Natasha Denona, and Alamar Cosmetics, just to name a few.

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Perhaps even more well-remembered than the Miss S&M show itself is Donatella Versace famously wearing pieces from the collection. First, to the Vogue 100th Anniversary Party, then later to the Rainforest Foundation fashion show in London. Unsurprisingly, she went with a soft, nude lip both times.

Just now realizing you've never found your perfect nude? Shop The Zoe Report's favorite takes on the '90s trend, below.

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