Emoji, hashtags, and DJ remixes: Donatella Versace said she’s “closed the door to the archive” and is looking outward, at the real world of young communication as it exists—a tech revolution of our times. “I mixed up the Versace key pattern with our new emoji,” she declared, pointing to the dial-like circular pattern that was embedded in her brash primary-color prints, transferred onto the printed tights, and built into the towering scaffolding which supported the set. Soon, the Versace emoji will be available to download from the company website. It is embroidered and embossed into bags and onto quilted coats. Per Donatella, the message it will stand for is, “Dare.”
Trust her to side with young people. Donatella really was born to it as the little sister of Gianni Versace, who always encouraged her to bring home the rock stars and the supermodels and whoever was currently exciting in the eighties and nineties. Now, as she views it, the interest has shifted to the speed of communication and the invented shorthands that are instinctive to today’s “digital natives.”
That’s one way of explaining the random reordering of V-E-R-S-A-C-E on the glittery disco-dresses in the finale (she said she’d apparched that “as if a DJ had done a remix”), and the hashtag #GREEK buried within the symbolism. Still, this is a ready-to-wear house, not a wearable tech company; yet who knows if the meeting of those two forces with mutually beneficial intent is where the future will lead?
As for the moment we see in front of us, Donatella was more concerned with pragmatic daywear—her fall collection included pinstripe pantsuits; pencil skirts; Versace slogan sweatshirts; and low, glittery gilded cage-heels, on pointy-toe boots—than evening. The street, the reality of what people wear item by item, is beginning to reboot the mentality of designers in high places everywhere.
Not that Donatella’s ideas of daywear is exactly down-home bland. It also has plenty of room for cutaway cashmere coats and fit-and-flare dresses that showcase legs and womanly curves. But then, what to make of the one-color total looks: red, searing yellow, top-to-toe green? And a shaggy toxic green alpaca chubby? One way and another, they all fit into the sixties mod trend of the season, whether she quite intended it or not.