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Show Report

Show Report: Versace S/S 16 Menswear

by Lou Stoppard on 22 June 2015

Lou Stoppard reports on the Versace S/S 16 menswear show.

Lou Stoppard reports on the Versace S/S 16 menswear show.

Amongst the clutter and clamour of Milan Fashion Week, Versace has become an island. It’s a unique beast, unaffected by the rules, styles and moods of the day. It’s seemingly stuck in a time-warp while simultaneously proving itself significant and intriguing to a whole new generation who love its unrestrained opulence and obviousness. But there’s a mood in the air across all of Milan that had even reached Donatella’s wavelength - a mood of looking outside of Italy, outside of Europe altogether, and trying to work the cultures and traditions of some ‘other’ area in one’s collection.

So at the end of day two of a Milan Fashion Week that could be defined as a week-long tribute to Asia, when the Versace venue was decked out in sand with scarfs strung up like tents and the show notes informed us that ‘The Versace man is an adventurer in where he travels and what he wears’, it almost felt like a cliche. As a market fashion is changing, and big houses are now selling to new, diverse sets of shoppers, stationed all over the world. It’s too big a group to be able to target clearly, hence why so many collections have felt like they’re talking to a fictitious, imagined person -  the idea of someone - while actually talking to no-one (see many of the strange attempts to draw inspiration from the East that have resulted in little more than bog standard collections with a jazzy Oriental print). Donatella Versace did the first bit, fortunately without doing the second. She plucked a territory out of the blue - in this case some romantic desert land, maybe in Turkey or Cyprus (there were fezes) or maybe somewhere Arabian (see the brilliant spice colours, do-rags, tie-dye and sunset-hued dip-dyes). But rather than this feeling like some odd pastiche, or an ill-informed moment of appropriation, it felt vibrant because Versace itself was the main story. It was Versace DNA here, any other influences were just secondary. The toned hunks, the macho suiting, the glistening metallics - all classic Donatella. She talked of the collection being for ‘brave’ men. Brave is an apt word for Versace right now - while so many other brands feel like their collections are put together more by trend forecasters and sales advisors, as the design teams grapple at straws, trying to please too many different voices, Versace shows with conviction and force. You can tell what it’s stands for no matter where Donatella’s gaze falls each season - in today’s climate, that’s precious.

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