Hotter Than Hell. Versace AW22

Versace is the only brand in Milan so far that has (at least) communicated on its social media solidarity with Ukraine and a call for peace. Donatella Versace did the same, which makes me love her even more. This is what independence from luxury conglomerates gives: the freedom of taking a stance.

Another great news: the autumn-winter 2022 collection is so, so good. The designer described the line-up as “an elastic band pulled tight and about to snap back with a build-up of energy”. It was an accurate illustration of how the hyper-glam Versace woman she designs for must feel after two years of horrors like “homecore”, “comfort-wear”, and “WFH dressing”. This collection was the antidote: a tailored, corseted, mini-dressed punch of power to the post-pandemic wardrobe, presented on a shiny red runway with a brilliant original soundtrack that mixed what sounded like Versace’s voice with a throbbing and electrifying beat. For its expert dressmaking, the collection was an exercise in perfecting a few simple elements. One was tailoring: Donatella broadening the shoulders and cinched the waists of suits with voluminous trousers, evoking ’80s power dressing through an amplified lens. Skirt suits in tailoring fabrics juxtaposed a skimpy hemline with big, boxy blazers cut at the same length, while skirt suits in tweeds unravelled at the hems in a polished punk way. Throughout, she stuck to her magic body grammar, accentuating shoulders, waist and hips. Then, nearly every look was based on a corset: as minimal bustiers worn on their own; embedded in mini and ankle dresses; as bustiers in tailoring fabric that matched sartorial trousers; built into wool and rubber coats; evoked within long-sleeved dresses as if a waspie had been styled over them; and – most ingeniously – structured into the waist of a puffer jacket that ballooned over it. If the silhouette those corsets created didn’t already make Versace’s models pose up a storm, Donatella underpinned her looks with skin-tight rubber tops and polished latex leggings, cementing the boudoir mood of the collection.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

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