Following the success of her last runway show, it’s clear that Donatella Versace is still riding high, as her newest collection fabulously picked up exactly where Spring left off. Simply put, the Versace Pre-Fall 2016 is impressive. It showcased a version of the Versace woman that’s much different to anything previously seen. This season Ms. Versace steered clear of her signature ultra- sexy, hyper- glamourous evening wear and instead, focused on modern daywear. Far less flashy than previous seasons, much of the lineup was conservative by house standards, but with the Versace attitude and sense of luxury remaining as fierce as ever.
Ms. Versace revamped traditional daytime looks with sportswear-inspired elements to create a solid array of polished business casual ensembles with an ultra- cool urban attitude. Heralding an updated urban wardrobe for today’s powerful woman, the collection was smart- at times even intellectual- and is based on Ms. Versace’s idea of modern femininity: a woman who is predisposed to glamour but, isn’t unaware of practical needs. This woman is sharp and commanding, but unabashedly sexy and subtly feminine in her dress. She favours precise tailoring and sharply engineered construction over frills and fancy, and is unafraid of introducing a heavy dose of urban chic into her everyday wardrobe.
Sleek cuts and minimalist tailoring were standout features of the collection and made for an impressive intersection of functional, body-conscious styles. Upon these sturdy foundations, Ms. Versace built coats and jackets of controlled proportions, that when paired with slim ‘peg legged’ trousers or short, sexy pleated skirts, created a look that qualified as a streamlined version of the iconic hourglass silhouette. Fabrics were dense yet malleable, giving the shapes a sculptural (almost molded) feel with a soft edge.
The sleek cuts made the collection’s sporty vibe especially noticeable: mini-dresses were constructed with the performance precision of a scuba suit, there were dropped-shoulder bomber jackets, pleated elastic cuffs, stirrup trousers, sturdy visible hardware, molded jackets, graphic striped belts and wide cuffs in bright contrasting colours that referenced retro ski gear.
It wouldn’t be a Versace collection without some sexiness coming into play, however this season’s offering displayed sexy in new and non-traditional Versace ways. Sheer panels covered up curved cutouts, while shapes skimmed rather than clung to curves. Feminine details like jewelled flowers and delicate pastels were toughened up with grommets and leather whip stitching, while multiple embellished straps and harnesses added dimension to the girlier looks.
Surprisingly enticing, this collection was effective in creating decisive silhouettes while bringing a definite dose of Ms. Versace’s much loved masculine/feminine comparisons. Hints of mannish tailoring restrained curving, body conscious silhouettes, making them feminine but not girly, and brought a continuity throughout the collection. Skirts and dresses were done in menswear patterns like tweed and houndstooth, masculine pieces (more tailored suits and outerwear) were covered with printed micro florals and sober wools were covered with tiny rubberized flowers. Masculine/feminine comparisons aside, this is also one of Donatella Versace’s best forays into the realm of urban dressing.
“Versace on the streets,” is how the collection notes described it, and sure enough there was a heavy dose of urban subculture to be seen in the bright graffiti prints, extensive patchwork, chunky leather loafers, lace-up boots, and hard-edged embellishments like decorative leather stitches, studs and grommets.
This however, is urban wear as seen through the Versace prism, and the brand’s trademark luxury showed through in every piece: graphic pink scratches turned out to be prints on patterned satin, “mended” sweaters were sewn with sturdy leather stitches or riveted with brass hardware, patchwork patterns appeared in leather and fur, and geometric knitwear patterns were revealed as elaborate intarsia.
Long story short, Pre- Fall 2015 was a purified form of the traditional Versace ethos- but stripped of all the unnecessarily frilly ephemera and elevated to a place that it sure to set a new standard for future releases.
Pre-Fall 2016 is one of the most graphically interesting collections that I’ve seen in a long time, and definitely one of the most well executed collections that Ms. Versace’s done.
It’s the first time I’ve ever fallen completely in love with an entire Versace collection!
Xx – Ana