“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.
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)
@heriethpaul and @gracebol have a moment on the @victoriassecret fashion show 2017. See every look from the runway on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo) #wwdfashion #victoriassecret #VSFashionShow
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia