Donatella Versace looks to be doing two very different- seemingly diametrically opposite - things with her spring/summer 2014 womenswear show. She was both traditional and experimental.
The show was traditional in the sense that the clothing was unadulterated and unapologetically Versace. Sexy and form fitting with just the right amount of exposed skin, and a dash of dominatrix thrown into the mix; the designer got her codes of the house combo just about right. Over the past couple of seasons Versace has been showing a real determination to come back to the brand’s DNA, and fans of the house can only be pleased that she has.
Now about that experimental aspect of the collection, this is not some sly double entendre about boundary-pushing of a sexual nature. Although, the swinging silver chains finished off with medusa heads, which appeared on a number of outfits, did add a certain sadomasochistic quality to the ensembles. No, this has to do with Versace’s youthful exuberance in trying out new and interesting mélanges of textiles to craft her sexy rock and roll silhouettes.
This season, that came down to things like the opening denim pieces, a material that hasn’t appeared on the designer’s catwalk in ages, which Versace mixed with linen to give it a textural finish. And there were the stand away from the body shimmering skirts that completed the bondage-esque bandage strap dresses. Those skirts were crafted out of raffia, shot though with silk. They smartly counterbalance the second skin sculptural nature of the top of the outfits with one created via volume.
A trickle down effect from the design research Versace had done in her most recent haute couture collection could also be spotted in the show’s eveningwear. There she used liquid metal mesh for a “ripped off the bodice” effect that closely echoed the couture techniques the designer had refined.
Besides the sexy aspect of this collection there was also a strong rock n roll element at play. The interesting, what only can be described as “staple” closures on fitted jackets and skinny pants, looked new and evocative. And the cheeky way the designer created concert tour T-shirts for the Versace house (included a list of cities scrolled down the back) showed that as famous as she has become, Versace isn’t above poking a bit of fun.