Versace was always the loudest, louchest, most glamorous name in fashion – the one where the spirit of rock and roll ran pure through its veins. And now after a phenomenally successful H&M collaboration, critically acclaimed ‘Vunk’ collection for AW13 and seeing Gianni’s iconic safety pin dress take prominent place at the Metropolitan Museum’s current exhibition Punk: From Chaos to Couture; Donatella Versace’s earned the right to throw herself a party. She did so in typically decadent fashion at Wednesday night's extravaganza celebrating the new Versus Versace and a one-off capsule collection designed by British provocateur, J.W. Anderson.
Taking over the Armoury on Lexington, massive screens flashed the new look Versus – which has been reimagined by Donatella as a seasonless line featuring the codes of the brand (studs, op-art prints and safety pins). Then illuminated from behind a glass walled box, she showed us the final preparations for the main event: J.W. Anderson’s much anticipated collection. Mixed in with sets by rapper-of-the-moment, Angel Haze, Maxwell, rockers Dead Sara and electronic goddess Grimes (and featuring an exclusive soundtrack by her good friend, Lady Gaga) the collection was staged as three separate catwalk tableaux distilling the sharp, precise message of the collaboration.
Anderson has stayed true to the DNA of the brand – that 90s electricity came sharply back into focus – but managed to push forward the agenda of Versus by infusing his twisted brand of perversity to proceedings. So tops were cropped to reveal midriffs, asymmetrical blazers were fastened by leather bands and bright neon knits were cut away to reveal sprays of black lace. The fact that the looks were shown on both men and women is of course an Anderson trope but Versace did it first, as evidenced by the iconic Bruce Weber campaigns of the 90s that featured an androgynous Stella Tennant. And what is also a first is how this event was livestreamed to the internet masses with the core collection available to buy online immediately (J.W. Anderson’s collection will be available from 15th June).
Being able to set the course for the future of fashion at the same time as throwing a good old fashioned knees-up? That’s Donatella.
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