Va-va-va-Vunk! That’s Versace Punk, thank you, coined by the lady herself, and it was fabulous. Fabulous as in chips-all-in, over-the-top, brazen and absolutely, deliciously fearless. However many days into this long fashion season, we’ve seen a little of wonderful, a little of awful and a great deal of the unmemorable pleasant. Sitting in Donatella Versace’s high-gloss white tent (visibility a plus!) watched over by a giant silver Medusa, who wouldn’t delight in the big, black-and-white zebra (or was it tiger?) intarsia mink coat with red-and-black spotted collar worn over black latex corset and jeans? Betcha that one won’t fade into the March 7th blur.
Versace is a house with a storied history and some highly recognizable fashion iconography, punk references included. Yet in a preview on Thursday, Donatella insisted this would be her vunk only. “It’s not reverential,” she said. “I don’t like to look back. I do, but…”
Looking back specifically to any of Gianni’s great moments, to Elizabeth Hurley in safety pins, might have cast a reverential solemnity over this motif. Instead, Donatella kept all the renowned Versace and sex and sizzle and turned it into a there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-goes my daughter that was somehow as charming as it was hot. The heat was everywhere — in the vinyl maillots that served as underpinnings to great overcoats, their peaked collars tipped in crystals; in vinyl jeans, slashed cocktail dresses — some in animal prints commissioned from the Haas Brothers. Perhaps the charm lay in the ridiculousness of the luxurious low-slung vinyl-and-tartan kilts and an animal-spotted mink mini, or in the jet-topped nailhead earrings and bracelets.
One could note the presence of some terrific wearable clothes; “Broken down…” is a typical WWD phrase. But it’s more fun to focus on the glam gowns that fell from halters of densely packed three-inch spikes and the looks trussed in bugle-beaded harnesses, or that when the girls weren’t wearing boots done up with heavy metal, they wore sandals boasting tufts of perky red and yellow fur.
Best, of all, this collection showed the happy result of genuine daring exercised not by a kid with nothing to lose, but by a major designer who could have just looked nuts. Instead — Vabulous. With a V.