Thanks to the glorious invention of 'live streams' I was able to watch and critique the latest Versace runway show which was for their Spring/Summer 2016 Men's Collection. I'll be honest with you....there's not that many 'high fashion' designers that excite me this much, but Donatella Versace is one of them. Not many people can consistently afford to buy such high fashion, but what I've learned recently by watching videos on SHOWstudio is that high fashion is about 'creating dreams' for people, and those trends eventually trickle down and find their ways of becoming affordable and accessible to people of all walks of life. What is it about Versace that is so compelling to me? Perhaps it's my Greek ancestry or my interest in Greek & Roman mythology that has always been drawn to the iconic golden Medusa head, the Greek Key pattern, the gold chains, and the overall mythological quality to Versace's aesthetic. There's also a boldness to the Versace man - to me, he seems to be unafraid of extravagant colours or fabrics, and carries himself down the runway like Hercules. In Donatella's own words, from her #ASKDV Twitter Q+A the other night, "The Versace man is proud, strong, not afraid of himself and he's always the sexiest guy around."
So what does SS2016 look like?
Here are MY observations from the #VERSACELIVE event:
The overall theme seems to be culturally diverse, which is an interesting expression about globalization. Intentional? Hmmm...The main piece seen over and over again in this collection is THE SCARF - I'd say 90% of the models wore head scarves - often quite long head scarves with a long pony tail aesthetic down the back. Donatella even revealed in #ASKDV that the whole collection started with 'the scarf'. The entire runway was covered in scarves hanging from giant poles coming out of the stage, which (to me) also resembled old english medieval jousting flags, but also a middle-eastern/asian style marketplace. Before the curtain opened the message reading "NO MAN NEEDS NOTHING" was projected. I'm not sure what this means yet. The overall music seemed quite aggressive - it started out classical, but soon sounded tribal and African, but also had Indian and Asian influenced sounds at times before exploring rock, ambient techno and funk. Of course the Italian and Greco/Roman aesthetic that is in the DNA of Versace was present in the collection, but there seemed to be quite a bit more Middle Eastern/Desert inspiration with the cuts, layering, colour palette, and accessorizing.
"The tailoring is stripped of construction" said Donatella in #ASKDV, which was evident with her use thinner and sparser looking fabrics, light layering, fitted blazers but deconstructed with extra LONG shirts and baggier trousers. A few pieces had cut outs near the armpits/shoulders, and elbow areas. There was a jumpsuit! And a few tracksuit style pieces. There was a unique jacket pocket style this season - on a few pieces I noticed almost a cargo-pant style puffier pocket which I think is quite innovative for blazers! There was a 'pajama' like quality to some pieces but I think that stems from the aesthetic of the Middle East.
STAPLES & ICONOGRAPHY
There was a few Versace staples they usually have - beautiful silk suits, leather jackets, shorter shorts, gladiator sandals, etc.
The iconography of the Medusa head and the Greek Key were a little more muted and understated than I've seen in previous Versace collections. The gold Medusa head was present mostly on the bags and briefcases and on baseball-cap style hats. The Greek Key pattern was used as trim for some pieces but overall it wasn't very present this season.
The key colours included lots of PURPLE - mostly lighter lilac purples but also deeper tones as well. There was also a lot of olive green colours paired with navy, black, and brown.
A few lighter blue pieces - one was an ombre style sequin sweatshirt that sparkled nicely down the runway.
There was also some silver, cream, and beige pieces. One of the boldest pieces was the second piece seen in the show, a red suit with the gold Greek Key pattern as trim.
In #ASKDV Donatella stated she was trying to come up with new patterns to mix and add to the iconic ones. Some new patterns included a grid pattern, pinstripes, and another pattern used on a few suits which looked like they had rubbed up against paint - which also looked cloudy or dusty or dirty (intentionally).
Of course the main accessory was the head scarf. The sunglasses were mostly military/aviator style frames - black, brown, and olive lenses with golden accents. The watches were all worn over top of sleeves. Skinny belts, skinny ties. There wasn't many necklaces but the ones I saw were gold but more subtle and understated than Donatella usually does. The bags were almost all leather and included the medusa emblem - duffle bags, oversized brief cases, and smaller man bags as well.