Goth Diva. Versace SS23

Versace turned up the heat in the middle of very mild-looking Milan Fashion Week. A steady stream of Prince hits pumped through the speakers as the crowd assembled at the spring-summer 2023 show, and in the middle of the runway, scores of black candles glowed behind walls of glass. Reading the signs, it looked like Donatella Versace was going goth for spring. The first four models, who emerged together, seemed to confirm it. They slithered out in clingy black jersey with slash cutouts and multi-strap platform Mary Janes. Up next were another 10 black looks, from Adut Akecg in a fringed leather motorcycle jacket and micromini, to Binx Walton in a matching bustier and hip-slung jeans. “I have always loved a rebel, a woman who is confident, smart, and a little bit of a diva,” the designer said via press release. She might as well have been talking about herself. Then came monochrome color: electric fuchsia and Princely purple, cut into a liquid jersey number or a sheer dress over satin flares, and teeny party dresses in many variations—strapless with more fringe at the hips or slinky with a cowl hood. A leather teddy was laser-cut like lace and embellished with thousands of little metal studs. This season’s prints combined tropical flowers, zebra stripes, and the label’s all-caps logo on repeat. This section included a couple pairs of jeans. Shredded in precise diamond patterns, this was not your average denim, but it was a whole lot more casual than anything Versace has put on the runway lately, a sign of Donatella’s ambition to expand and diversify her offering. Before the end, the collection moved through the black-to-bright cycle again. Mariacarla Boscono’s black suit and sheer shirtdress mid-layer were sharp. The baby dolls, garters, and lace veils in pink, purple, and acid yellow looked torn from Madonna’s “Like a Virgin”–era playbook via Stephanie Seymour in “November Rain.” For the finale, Versace had another pop-culture blast from the past, none other than Paris Hilton in pink chain mail. Rebels of all kinds welcome here.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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