Sparkly starfish! Golden studs! Neoprene, leather and legs! Donatella Versace’s spring show had all the markings of a glamour fest that felt both unmistakably signature and a bit surprising. (Medusa, make way for Mermaid.) These are confident times for the designer, and why not? “This is a Versace moment,” she said in a preview, supposing that the house ethos fuels women an ongoing fashion dream, the kind that telegraphs glamour, for which she offered her own tweaked definition: “Femininity and coolness in a sexy way.”
Check, check and check, those three traits delivered in a runway celebration of summer centered on cheerful, seacentric prints — sea horses, seashells and the leading lady, a pinup version of a mermaid, wearing her own glam sunglasses. Variations on the motif went on and on. What wasn’t printed was studded; what wasn’t studded got serious crystallization. (An exposed midriff gown with giant starfish encrustation channeled Cher.)
The show was mostly white and upbeat pastels — citrine, mint, lilac — though Versace included a passage of black just to remind women that it’s there. Shapes were characteristically sexy, whether little jackets over Neoprene shorts or knee-length skirts. The news came in an appealing reimagining of the goddess: pleated drapes added to one side of short, structured dresses.
Versace girls always look beautiful, and this time they strutted the house heat with a prettiness that at times skewed gentle — mile-high pastel Lucite platforms notwithstanding.
The pieces felt in place for a stunner. Yet for all the work of this collection — its intricacies were countless — it lacked that racy oomph factor that makes the best of Versace’s collections so engaging. Perhaps she preserved some of that brio for the near future. Next up: Versus and H&M.