“I didn’t look at the archive,” said Donatella Versace. “I didn’t want to add decoration. I just wanted to think about an easy wardrobe. What a woman wants to wear.” True: She started off her spring show with what was technically a black suit, but we’re hardly talking somber attire here. There was a jacket, yes, but underneath it was a long skirt, split to the hip, picked out in white leather top-stitching. And there was a small, gold medallion stamped with a Versace Medusa riding on the model’s breast-bone.
Ms. Versace likes to send herself up—it’s one of the things that makes her a heroine to a generation of people young enough to be her children. But at the same time, there was nothing spoofy or slap-dash about the precision of any of her tailoring-—be it the long, smooth lines of her jackets or the graduated kick-flare of her pants. Another generation of young people has come along who love Versace. Visibly, she was happily tapping into the language of urban streetwear here down to the elasticated line of Versace underwear that peeped above the pants.
Riffing—or rather, rapping—on the Versace house codes, she was in a playful, upbeat mood. She’d had the Medusa logo redrawn by hand and printed on a silk shirt—a reinterpretation of early nineties Versace cult collectibles for a second generation. Then she took the Greek key pattern, abstracted it, enlarged it, drenched it in Swarovski sparkle, and pulled off a dozen and more feats of cutting it into party dresses.
Say what you like, Ms. Versace is in command of a house with an inimitably skilled workforce—a household she’s honorably kept together since the death of her beloved brother, Gianni. It took immense technical expertise to insert those slivers of sheer panels, some of them set on diagonals and curving from front to back in the finale she sent out. Maybe it takes older eyes to see and appreciate that, but younger ones will just want to grab the results off the runway. Which you get the feeling is the way DV prefers it.