As a diffusion line, Versus has always been about offering up a touch of that Versace magic for a fraction of the mainline price. Now, it has the addition of Christopher Kane's Midas touch, and Medusa-stamped or not there is more than a little bit of him in the work he is producing. Last season, it was subtle allusions to his graduation collection, but this time around was a melding of both Kane and Versace's greatest hits in tight, brightly-coloured little dresses with well-defined and multi-strapped bodices flaring into a fluid A-line of fantail pleats. Those bondage straps, coiling around arms, trussing waists and even clambering around velvet platform sandals, were classic nineties Versace, the kind girls are still valiantly trawling vintage shops to unearth, and it was a savvy move to update them. Update is the important factor - Kane buttoned those straps rather than buckled, and while it was a subtle touch it made them suddenly look eons more wearable - on the right person, that is. His own comparatively young archive was evoked in the electric colour (Spring 2007), that combination of velvet and leather (think Winter 2007), and those pleats (just last season). The dresses looked most modern worn with an easy print t-shirt, the imagery drawn from Bruce Weber's advertising for the line and coloured in the saturated hues of the collection - cerulean, rich violet, red and black. Those t-shirts were part of an expanded product range, including velvet suiting, slender trousers, and sleek leather jackets with angular, topstitched peplums that could easily slip into the wardrobes of Versace's mature, mainline customers. They were the exceptions in this range, marked by its overwhelming focus on youth - the velvet cropped down-jacket pumped to Michelin Man proportions can only be destined for the back of some oligarch's teenage daughter. But isn't that the point of a diffusion line after all? In the UK they go to Topshop for a taste of Kane - in Italy, no doubt, they will flock to his revitalised Versus.
The velvet cropped down-jacket pumped to Michelin Man proportions can only be destined for the back of some oligarch's teenage daughter.