Not many runway shows are pulse-pounding. Versace’s are unfailingly so with their blaring music, leggy supermodels, fierce fashions and famous faces in the crowd — or even walking the show. Hello, remember J.Lo in that dress!
“We will have to do without a front row of VIPs. Something’s gotta give, right?” Donatella Versace said in an e-mail interview ahead of a livestream of her coed spring show, with Versace employees, all of whom tested negative for COVID-19, making up the sparse audience.
Versace went for an undersea theme out of a yearning for nature, escape and fantasy. “Right after the lockdown was lifted, we all saw that the world was actually recovering very fast by the lack of human presence,” she said. “The air was cleaner, the sky seemed of a deeper blue. I want it to stay like this.”
Hence her heightened sustainability ambitions — the collection included organic cotton and recycled polyester and polyamide — and the return of Versace’s iconic Trésor de la Mer print depicting sea creatures.
The sand runway, mythical statuary and crumbling columns for the show set depicted the fictional sunken city of Versaceopolis, whose deep waters were quickly heated up by some of the steamiest fashions seen so far this season — along with drenched hair, oiled flesh and generous bosoms frothing from the top of slipdresses.
The collection was solid and very on-brand in its use of vivid Miami colors, bold prints and unabashed sexiness. Versace paired boxy pinstriped jackets with HotPants, poured models thin and curvy into tube skirts — and she never met a scuba top that went past the ribcage.
While some looks teetered into camp territory — the bedazzled clam-shell bra, for example — Versace clearly had fun with the theme, scattering rows of printed shells on an Eighties shell suit (LOL!) and adding squid-like ruffles to the sleeves and hems of narrow plissé dresses, and bigger, undulating flounces to miniskirts and two-tier ball skirts.
The men’s wear was also strong, varied and only occasionally outré, with silky boardshorts, logo socks and snug tops for surfer dudes, and taut tailoring and silky shirts for those who just want to cruise the boardwalk.
“Fashion is about dreaming and the most instinctive answer to what we are all going through is the desire to create a new world,” Versace mused as she discussed her Versaceopolis idea.
That didn’t apply so much to her presentation format, as thrilling and bombastic as ever: “A Versace show will always be a Versace show, whether it is digital or live,” she shrugged.