“It’s in the air. Absolutely. I feel it — it’s a very Versace moment,” said Donatella Versace Saturday as she prepped for tonight’s Versace for H&M show, which has been a year in the making. Dressed in black leather pants and a studded Versace for H&M tank, her eyelids covered lashes-to-brow in black shadow, one veiled by a sweep of platinum hair, Versace and her collection infused the blank, white space at Milk Studios — the outpost for hair, makeup and fittings — with a blitz of color.
Across the street, Pier 57 was undergoing a similar transformation into “Versace for H&M Hall on the Hudson,” as it will be known for one night only. Without getting too specific, the designer said that production will include three videos by Johan Renck, musical performances by Nicki Minaj and Prince, as well as the unmistakable sound of Versace’s voice. Victor Calderone, who is doing the music for the show, mixed Versace’s vocals — speaking in English, specifically — on a track. “It’s the funniest thing because I can’t sing,” said Versace with a laugh. “I’m going to say, ‘Nicki and Prince, you’re time is over. It’s all about me!’”
If H&M had its way, all of this would have happened two years ago, when the company initially approached Versace about a collaboration. But at that time, the answer was no. “I wanted to work to stabilize the main collection everywhere in the world,” said Versace. “We were strong in most places, but other places we had to work.” The company restructured and since then the tables have turned in her favor, sales are up, the business is growing, and the Versus collection, Versace’s secondary line co-designed by Christopher Kane, has been brought back in-house.
It seems whatever force of nature sways the collective taste has put it in the mood for Versace’s brand of conspicuously sexy glamour, and not just because anything Lady Gaga, who Versace shrewdly offered to outfit in archival looks for two recent videos, touches turns into zeitgeist. Although, that helped. “The reaction to her was amazing,” said Versace. “Everybody was writing on our Web site to ask where they can find this and that.” The runways, too, have been flooded with Versace tributes — this past season at Lanvin and Dolce & Gabbana, and last fall in the panther and pin-up prints at Givenchy. “Riccardo Tisci is a friend of mine,” said Versace. “He told me he had every Versace campaign as a poster as a child.”
As complimentary as it is to have one’s creative peers bask in your glow, it’s even better to lure a new audience all together. “I’m always looking at young people,” said Versace. “Girls today love to dress up. They love the Medusa. You see it even if they just buy a belt or sunglasses. They want to look cool and sexy. They don’t want to look ordinary.” Kristen Stewart, Carey Mulligan and Elizabeth Olsen come to mind when asked to name a few youthful persons of interest. “Of course, I love Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj,” she said. “They’re not afraid to dare. It’s been a while since someone went out there and didn’t listen too much to the marketing people. You still have to listen to them but not 100 percent.”
The 43 looks in the H&M collection, which hits stores Nov. 19, were designed with these provocative young ladies in mind. Studded leathers, inspired by Gianni Versace, Miami palm tree prints and some of Donatella’s recent prints, including colorful hearts, have been reworked on trenches, pleated miniskirts, baseball jackets and tight dresses with alluring cutouts. It’s Versace for a new generation — a look brought to life when the models Daphne Groeneveld and River Viiperi, both there on Saturday for fittings, emerged from the dressing area, where Versace’s daughter, Allegra, was assisting the stylist Joe McKenna, in a black leather trench covered in studs, and a head-to-toe fuschia suit, respectively. “It looks rich,” Versace said, handling a leather and chain-link choker with a bejeweled tiger head on it, though the collection’s prices top out at $299.
New York was chosen for tonight’s event for the same reason Versace showed her first Versus collection here more than 20 years ago. “I’m never tired when I’m in New York,” she said. “It makes you want to do things.”
If only one can find the time. The Maurizio Cattelan exhibit at the Guggenheim and “Picasso to Koons: Artist as Jeweler” at the Museum of Arts and Design were on her list of sights to see. So was the Kanye West and Jay-Z concert. But as of 6 o’clock on Saturday evening, she hadn’t had a minute to do anything but work.
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye