In an about face that felt like a breath of fresh air, designer Donatella Versace took her family brand back to the fundamentals and produced a strong and straight-laced show full of clothing that felt more cool than camp.
“This Versace collection is stripped back to the Versace soul,” said the designer at a preview before her show on Saturday night. “Stripped because I took off all of the decorations. You are going to find a pure Versace soul that stands on its own.”
The designer was spot on with her prediction. But as relatively minimal as this collection was, it still oozed masculinity from every Italian corporate raider suit and luxe fur coat to the butter leather bombers and whipstitched pairs of denim jeans. Even the abundance of cashmere knitwear - cut in everything from sporty leggings to roomy cardigans - felt somehow testosterone charged.
The sporty luxe meets street luxe approach to the collection worked extremely well. It felt in synch with current style trends and yet also maintained that all important Versace virility. Who cares that more than a couple of women in the audience wouldn’t mind adding quite a few of the thigh-length ribbed knitwear and long thick knit scarves into their own wardrobes.
Yes, this was a more sober show for Versace. And there are sure to be those that will lament the lost of the tongue in cheek element. But as sober as this show was, it was also very sellable.