An industrial basement venue, pitch black but for swirling spotlights provided a suitably hard-edged backdrop for the Versus show. This was a tough, urban collection for Versace’s sister line, which is 20 years old this year.
The men’s and women’s show opened with one of the models of the moment Bella Hadid, whose sister Gigi was seated front row with her boyfriend, the ex One Direction singer Zayn Malik. The black leather jacket she wore with knee-length biker boots and micro shorts (all the better to display a gym-honed derrière) was the first of many plays on jackets. Bikers came cropped or sleeveless, bombers were also short or oversized and belted, worn in the style of a dress, and parachute nylon coats featured scuba panels.
These jackets were teamed with familiar Versace tropes such as the skinny pant, mini dress, mini kilt and micro mini skirt. Chain mail was another classic Donatella touch. She is now the designer of the line, along with a team of young designers, since Anthony Vacarello left to head up Saint Laurent earlier this year.
Apart from leather almost all of the collection came in technical composite fabrics “everything is a mix”, explained Donatella, “nothing is 100%”. Construction was particularly important to the designer, who said that a metal mesh dress, “was put together the same way a Nike sneaker is constructed.” That’s certainly something the young audience Donatella is courting can relate to.