Versus Versace: back to the New Wave
The program notes insisted that the clothes celebrated the 90s in New York. However, the collection looked more like updated New Wave, the posh alternative to punk rock that marked out the Seventies.
Versus written pretty much everywhere: including in six-foot high letters on the walls of Central Saint Martins, the fashion school where the show was staged on a balmy Sunday afternoon in London. Versus on metal chokers, white socks and even the back of black knickers.
“Versus is about individuality, bravery and pleasure. This is for everyone who dares to express themselves in everything they do,” said Donatella, whose backstage was officially closed. Nervous PR staff said she would leave the venue for Milan immediately after the show.
Opening with faded plaid trenches, pants and waistcoats, many finished with massive red V chevrons, Donatella worked classical codes into the mix. Yet her best fabric was an Hermès style print made of inter-locking chains, ribbons and safety pins – punk’s favorite accessory. All based on punky cowboy boots covered in metal spikes or power wedges in Perspex. While the sharpest looks were the final polo dresses finished with lions heads and graphic panels, just like the one Donatella wore backstage.
“What matters is that you like the collection, and not what I say,” smiled Donatella, briefly speaking out from the backstage.
Outside, another gang of anti-fur protesters screaming at guests entering the show. Inside, the house announced the new Gianni Versace Scholarship, to bankroll a student in the MFA Fashion Course in Central Saint Martins. The house will remember the great designer in its next show on Friday in Milan, with a homage to Gianni in the 20th anniversary year of his death, explained CEO Jonathan Akeroyd.
“Versus is working very well, and gaining a great audience,” said Akeroyd. Versus now retails in over 300 stores worldwide, including 31 flagships. “And we are upgrading and repositioning many of them,” smiled Akeroyd.
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