Donatella Versace laid out a gleaming white runway for the London launch of Versus Versace that would later get mucked up as the dance floor at the after party.
It was a dramatic backdrop for the mostly black collection by creative director Anthony Vaccarello, who drew on the hallmarks of the Italian house’s glory days in the early Nineties. There were shades of THAT Elizabeth Hurley dress in the sinuous, nearly-naked gowns that closed the show, and of the famous Peter Lindbergh supermodel photo in the tough bombers, military tailoring and leather dresses with biker zips.
Here was an idealized, polished version of Versace style with its silver hardware, bold botanical prints and demonstrative tailoring – dressier and fussier than what the sneaker-loving London club kids donned to pile into the basement of Victoria House to hear the Howling Bells and mosh to hip-hop.
Taut bomber jackets, low-slung military blazers and sleeveless biker leathers for him and her are likely to get the clicks as the collection went on sale immediately on the Versus Web site the next day. The head-to-toe prints, including vine motifs crawling over denim, might be a tougher sell.
According to management, the Versus brand is hitting its stride following its fair share of false starts and guest designers, with sales set to double this year and flagships just unveiled in New York, Paris and London.