Fire-starting Versace in Milan
The house of Versace seems suddenly very much on fire, both aesthetically and commercially, after a punchy and polished menswear collection from Donatella staged on Saturday evening.
Dedicated to her late lamented pal Keith Flint of The Prodigy, whose driving music helped kick-start this impressive show.
With Keith’s classic track 'Firestarter' booming out of the speakers inside Palazzo Versace on central city Via Gesù, Donatella sent out a prodigious selection of rocker styles. A co-ed show, where Gigi Hadid opened in a black leather spy coat, finished with a harness belt, and Bella completed the action in a sparkling anthracite pantsuit and bra.
With the audience perched on a series of benches and ottomans covered in signature high-color Versace prints, the cast marched by on an elevated lilac-tinged perspex catwalk. The same prints appearing in denim oversized jackets and silk party shirts for guys -- or for girls, pop-classical prints where Narcissus and Bacchus competed for attention, seen in slinky pants suits and revealing cocktails.
"I wanted to dedicate this collection to my friend Keith from the Prodigy who has sadly passed away. I was the first one to convince him to perform at a fashion show and the reaction was absolutely stunning. He was a real Firestarter!" said an ever blonde Donatella.
Several models appeared in the same spiky, day-glow dyed hair that was Keith's signature, in leather pants with hundreds of grommets and acid dyed cut-off denim looks. Other sensitive models strutted with totes that bore fresh orchids.
Plus, in a natty display of tailoring, vertically split suits and redingotes in navy blue and Prince of Wales, the same check also in action with sensational waxed jackets – ideal Grammy-winner looks.
Donatella took her bow at a central dais, built around the body of a Lamborghini covered in a giant display of flowers; the same auto seen in even more prints. Designed by Canadian Andy Dixon, the same artist who developed the installation the house installed in this year’s Salone del Mobile.
According to Donatella, the high-performance auto was a metaphor of where "masculine and feminine meets in an always more blurred line," and the coming of age for young men when they buy their first car.
The house of Versace looks increasingly like a well-oiled machine. Besides its coherent and cleaned-up fashion sensibility, the brand has a substantial perfume business, turning over 350 million euros annually; as well as eyewear licenses with revenues in excess of 100 million euros.
The show comes nine months after the family sold the brand for $2.1 billion to Capri; a newly created American luxury group that made its fortune with Michael Kors.
Logically, if the new owners and Versace’s freshly hired accessories design team can get its handbag collection right, the house should be poised for serious growth.
Indeed, if Kors' remarkable success with bags is anything to go by, Versace has a bright future. And a happening one, where artists, stars and award-winners will again find their true home at the Medusa maison.
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