Thriving. Versace SS22

Versace is thriving. The confluence of Dua Lipa, Naomi Campbell and Lourdes Leon on the spring 2022 runway almost broke the internet. It definitely crashed Versace’s website momentarily, so heavy was the traffic to its livestream. The scene outside the Milan venue was just as frenetic, with young people lining up for in-person sightings. Donatella Versace knows how to capture the world’s attention. The collection was a bright, shiny revival of Versace’s many hits, aimed straight at the heart of the TikTok generation — young people for whom Dua and Lil Nas are household names, but who may be less familiar with the supermodels who helped propel the brand to fame 30 years ago. Naomi Campbell, though, was in the house to help show the new-gen models how it’s done. Dua opened the show in a cut-out jacket and slashed skirt tricked out in multicolor versions of the house-famous safety pins, and closed it in the even more iconic chain mail, dipped hot pink for the occasion. In between, Versace kept things young and playful, showing basketball silks and pajama sets in the archival Medusa print and the new La Greca print, and using the patterns for accents: a handkerchief top here, a bikini top there, and as patchwork on baggy faded blue jeans. The color palette was pure pop: a long run of Miami neons was bookended by sections of black, with a brief segue into collegiate red that featured what might be Versace’s first varsity letterman’s jacket. These clothes would be right at home in Miami, not least of all Imaan Hammam and Kiki Willems’s vinyl bustier dresses. In addition to Donatella’s Milano triumph, yesterday evening, the rumors materialised into an IRL collaboration with Fendi’s Kim Jones and Silvia Venturini Fendi. And oh my, this was the moment we’ve all waited for this fashion month.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Retro-Futuristic. Versace AW21

Versace is launching a new monogram this season. Named La Greca, it’s a take on the brand’s heritage Greek Key pattern turned trompe l’oeil in the genre of Goyard’s Chevrons or Moynat’s infinite Ms. In the film Versace released, in the middle of digital Paris Fashion Week, La Greca had been blown up into a massive wooden structure that framed a runway-style show. Here, models walked through monograms wearing monogram clothes, carrying monogram bags, and accessorizing with monogram jewelry. Monogram, everything! But somehow, it didn’t suffocate the actual clothes. Donatella Versace came up with a convincing proposal for a post-lockdown wardrobe: easy, smart, and real. Sci-fi fabric treatments and styling stuff like harnesses fused with 1970s silhouettes in a slightly retro-futuristic expression were backed up by sculptural streetwear shapes and little bionic dresses (Bella Hadid, Rianne Van Rompaey and Mica Arganaraz looked gorgeous wearing them). Donatella thrives creatively lately, delivering collections that are super-Versace, but as well true to herself.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Aquatic Wonderland. Versace SS21

As we are somewhere in the middle of the fashion month, two camps of designers can be noticed: the ones that take the realistic, pragmatic approach, and the ones that prefer escapism in midst of a crisis. Donatella Versace is in the latter group, as she takes us to her aquatic wonderland for spring-summer 2021. The Versace line-up was really good this season (and you know I’m not the biggest fan of the brand), but it was the model casting that truly stole the spotlight. Seeing the gorgeous, body-positive models – Jill Kortleve, Precious Lee and Alva Clair – in the Versace fantasy-land was a inclusivity moment that sadly isn’t a usual sight in Milan (except for Fendi and Marni, which invite different models to their fashion shows for a couple of seasons now). Hopefully, Donatella will keep it up. What about the clothes? In the imagined ruins of Atlantis and water currents streaming down its projected walls. Versace goddesses and gods wore starfish, coral, and seashell motifs from Gianni Versace’s ‘trésors de la mer’ collection for spring-summer 1992. They were ready to take on a new reality like the Rebirth of Venus herself (starring Adut Akech in the title role, of course). Versace, who described the collection as having “an upbeat soul,” said her challenge was to give fashion meaning in a historical moment like this. “I wanted to do something disruptive and to break the rules because I think that, what worked a few months ago, does not make any sense today. Creatively, that meant finding a way to bring the DNA of Versace to a new reality and to people who have undergone a deep change.” Clothes-wise, it’s a fun, high summer venture: it was, on the women’s as well as the men’s side, high-octane sporty cocktail-wear for an optimistic future. In all its sea-centric detailing, it also had its moments of ingenuity: micro-pleated dresses trimmed with twirly ruffles, which bounced like jellyfish in the waves walking down the runway; crazy cascading skirts layered like the lips of shells; and a bag constructed like a big fortune cookie.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Donatella & Anna Camping

This year’s Vogue’s Forces of Fashion biggest highlight? A conversation between two friends, Anna Wintour and Donatella Versace. And the personal photos they’ve shared with the audience (and the readers, right here). The above photo seems to be unreal! But it really happened. That’s the only camp I would love to go to. But also, how CAMP is this entire situation?! Now, have a great Sunday.

Google, Show Me The Real Jungle Dress. Versace SS20

Unless you took a digital detox, there’s no possible way you aren’t aware who closed Versace‘s spring-summer 2020 collection yesterday in Milan. The soundtrack suddenly got switched off and Donatella Versace‘s voice commanded: “Google. Show me the real jungle dress.” And there she was, the one and only Jennifer Lopez, wearing the now iconic jungle dress, version 2.0., she debuted on the red carpet back in 2000. The dress, the person and the brand that actually launched Google Images, 19 years later, all shined as bright as back then. But other than the Insta-worthy finale, there was of course an entire collection, inspired by early 2000s (and J-Lo, of course). And it was quite pleasing. Sculptural pieces paired with oversized, slashed knits in bright colours; signature metal mesh dresses revisited in the jungle print; Versace Medusa logo on draped tops. The black dresses that opened the show were sultry and Italian, while blazers and coats with XL shoulders were Donatella’s take on power-dressing. The designer takes good decisions style-wise and knows how to do the PR job right.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.