It was full on fetish time at the house of Versace this season with “dominatrix” Donatella Versace turning her artistic vision towards creating a collection that was unapologetically obsessed with strong sexy clothing with a feisty finish.
The take away image of this show was of the models being poured into second-skin (eat a grape and can’t fit into it anymore) vinyl ensembles. A nod of respect must be given to Ms. Versace who demonstrated that she wouldn’t have her girls don anything that she couldn’t fit into herself, by wearing a plastic ensemble from the collection when she took her runway bow.
There is also no denying the link between this collection and the theme of the upcoming Costume Institute’s fashion exhibition in New York dedicated to the power of punk. For paired with each slick black vinyl pantsuit or canary-yellow dress sliced open in places to expose the skin were hardcore embellishments. The spiky dog collar bracelets, chunky razor blade necklaces, spike-like screws that pierced both the fabric and the models' earlobes and silver rivet-covered stiletto boots all added to the defiant attitude of this show.
As Andrew Bolton pointed out in his preview of the Met exhibition during New York Fashion Week, punk had two very distinct styles when it bubbled to the surface in America and the United Kingdom. In this collection, however, Versace clearly directed her gaze to the heart of the movement in central London.
This could be seen in the black and white plaid kilt skirt that was finished off with a vinyl panel at the front, or the abstract animal print fur pieces crafted in day-glow yellow stripes or black and white spots. And if that wasn’t enough of a clue then the glossy semi-sheer t-shirts with the words “Punk” or “Wild” plastered across the chest put it in writing, worn with a harness that looked like metal but was in fact a clever line up of silver bugle beads.
And let's talk about those bugle beads for a moment. For those seeing this show from the live streaming comfort of their living rooms, that sort of detail would be difficult to pick up on. While the punk period was all about constructing homemade outfits out of everyday materials, these beads pointed to some of the impressive luxury handiwork at play in this collection.
Versace might do a punk themed show, but if she is going to do it, well it is going to be the most luxe interpretation of the style that she can get away with.
- Jessica Michault