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#SuzyMFW: Versace Rocks the Baroque

24 Feb 2018
By Suzy Menkes

Donatella puts a lively spin on the Gianni years.

Donatella puts a lively spin on the Gianni years.

Natalia Vodianova for Versace Autumn/Winter 2018 ©Imaxtree

How very un-Versace! Natalia Vodianova wearing a shiny burgundy trench coat with a prim collar underneath. She faced off Gigi Hadid in a smart camel coat. Had Donatella gone all ladylike, with the chosen venue a historic Milanese building and seating so limited that the favoured clients had to come to a second show?

Gigi Hadid for Versace Autumn/Winter 2018 ©Imaxtree

Then POW! We were in Scotland, plaid skirts thigh high and Highland check on everything from berets to knee-high socks. The clothes were youthful but useful, with a hint of the junior Versus line in plaid bags and floppy high-rise boots. Designer sneakers are, of course, an essential offering.

Versace Autumn/Winter 2018 ©Imaxtree

"We are the Versace family and we have got different characters: mystery women in all the black clothes, cool ones with sneakers - it's for all kind of women, every generation," said Donatella.

This was not some fabulous show that changed the course of the Versace heritage. In fact, ever since the brand played around with Gianni Versace's golden years last autumn, bringing onstage the supermodels of an earlier era, Donatella seems to find fun in looking back, cherry-picking pieces she likes and pairing them with the models of the moment.

Back, then, to the Eighties logo years - reflecting a general revival across fashion brands for the Autumn/Winter 2018 season. And judging by the "1978" marked on the invitation, the Versace legend was being taken back to its beginning.

Versace Autumn/Winter 2018 ©Imaxtree

The idea - and it made for a lively show - was to reduce four decades to a few choice pieces and send them down the runway under the war-wounded ceiling of a building that looked out on the Duomo, or cathedral.

The Scottish parade, with vivid plaids that were too bright to belong to any existing tribe, especially when decorating a cowboy shirt, moved into wild patterns, clinched with a stretch waist. To cool that down, a black leather mini dress, with drapes at the front, delivered the not-so-hidden Gianni weapon: sex.

Versace Autumn/Winter 2018 ©Imaxtree

A trio of cut-and-strut black dresses looked like an homage to the late Azzedine Alaïa.

Versace Autumn/Winter 2018 ©Imaxtree

There was a feeling that this collection had been created to raise shopping desire at a time when sales are often stationary. Thigh-high boots dressed up in multicoloured feathers looked like one of those surefire objects of desire.

Will these clothes change the course of fashion history? They looked much too familiar to create a revolution, although a big padded coat stabbed with rivets and decorated with a giant patterned bow was designed to make a statement.

Versace Autumn/Winter 2018 ©Imaxtree

Donatella seems eager to mine the Gianni years, especially his play on 'Rock Royalty' And why not, since other brands are already cherry picking his designs? Perhaps Donatella has her eyes on another possibility for the brand: dressing Meghan Markle. Go for it! Marrying into the royal family with a Versace T-shirt, a tightly fitted bodice and a digitally patterned skirt would bring the house down - even it was Windsor Castle!

Suzy Menkes By Suzy Menkes



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