Versace: Foulard fantasies with lotharios
The odd thing about attending Versace’s runway show at Milan Fashion Week on Friday night was that all anyone could talk about was what Donatella was going to announce on Sunday evening.
Emails this week had summoned a score of leading writers and editors to meet Donatella, and speculation had it that she would announce an unprecedented collaboration with Kim Jones and Fendi.
It was a slight pity that this drew so much focus, as the Versace collection actually unveiled on Friday was a pure expression of the house’s DNA: dramatic heraldic and baroque prints, suggestive cocktails, bravura silk shirts and impeccable tailoring. Even if there was little sense of anything revolutionary in this coed show, at least the scarves took the collection somewhere new.
Nonetheless, with the house’s new owners, led by Capri CEO John D. Idol, sitting front-row, you sensed that this was a collection often inspired by the demands of the merchandising department.
Donatella signaled the start of the action with a dozen young shirtless lotharios wearing black trousers, with logo underwear visible, gold necklaces and black masks, who climbed onto ladders and began – punkha wallah style – to pull ropes and undulate an 800-square-meter sheet of patchwork foulards up and down. Oddly, their action created no cooling breeze in the basement show-space. But these silks were the key to this collection, appearing in multiple looks and adding plenty of kick.
"The foulard is a fundamental component of Versace’s heritage and character. The foulard has been with us from the very beginning of the brand, but this season turns everything on its head. It is no longer fluid or dreamy, the scarf is provocative, sexy, wound tight," stressed Donatella, whose invitation came in a silk pochette.
Donatella proceeded to send a fab frisson through the socially distanced audience by opening with Dua Lipa in a razor-sharp suit – the one-medusa-buttoned jacket sliced at the side, the skirt below the knee.
"It’s been such an incredible experience to continue my journey with my Versace family, from starring in a campaign to now opening the SS22 show! Donatella, it’s been my dream to walk in your show," said Lipa, whose song "Physical" was the main soundtrack.
Donatella also injected the noble prints into menswear – as silk shirts, cummerbunds, jacket collars or the backs of crazy trenches. Other lads marched in muscle-top tanks reading "Versace Dream via Gesù." Perhaps we could have done without the dry woolen purple logo baseball jackets. A series of classy totes in either black leather or baroque paisley, and finished with gold chains and attached micro purses and clutches, also looked like best sellers.
Sadly, there was also a nigh-on wardrobe malfunction with Gigi Hadid, the American beauty who recently had her first child and looked to be very uncomfortably squeezed into an updated Liz Hurley safety pin dress.
Often the best looks for women were the simplest, like the leather suit made up of a tuxedo jacket fastened by a gold safety pin and a short skirt slashed at the side. Or even the wow-factor phosphate turquoise bustier cocktail dress worn by Imaan Hammam. Talk about unmistakably Versace at 100 meters.
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