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Versace Menswear AW17 Milan Dazed
Backstage at Versace AW17Photography Martina Ferrara

Donatella reflects on ‘hard times’ at AW17 show

After a hellish 2016, the designer reflects on the zeitgeist and debuts a collection focussing on the idea of brotherhood

What with Brexit, Trump, Syria, the deaths of many cultural icons, 2016 felt like we were hurtling headlong into an apocalypse. It’s only natural that fashion designers – who often act like something of a cultural barometer in society – are reflecting this in their AW17 collections; the latest example of which is Donatella Versace

Speaking in an interview before her AW17 menswear show at Milan Fashion Week, she said, “We’re living in hard times, with problems all over the world. I liked the idea of men and a brotherhood, and I believe men are stronger together.” For her, the response to tragedy is unity – a premise which was reflected in her gang of suited-and-booted male models that took to the runway yesterday, looking ever so slightly like an Italian mafia group.

Tailoring dominated the first 12 looks, with models showcasing dark suits worn with roll-neck jumpers and gold chains on top (a particularly mafia-y accessory). After that, things relaxed a bit with brighter colours, sportier cuts and the introduction of some plaid shirting. There were also some patterns inspired by African textiles and a print featuring Versace’s dog Audrey looking up from a flight of stairs.

For those who grew up in the UK, the plaid, black and flat-ironed fringes in the show may have remind you of something: emo fashion. Whether Ms. Versace was in fact referencing the style of this subculture it’s unclear, though its angst-ridden stereotype may be inline with the designer’s reflection on “hard times”.

Additionally, this season saw Versace switch up her casting, trading in the Adonis-like beefcakes that usually dominate her catwalk shows for more slender “normal” looking boys.