The Versace collection is all about a ‘new woman’, said Donatella Versace at Milan Fashion Week / AP

She knows when to ride that wave - earlier this year she recruited one of Versace V.2’s key proponents, Antony Vaccarello, to lead the label’s Versus line

Versace is a house perpetually mired in its own storied past.

Would you say more than any other? Maybe more, more recently: Versace has experienced something of a renaissance over the past half-decade, with young talent consciously referencing the label’s back catalogue, extensive and rich as it is (in every sense of the latter). Donatella Versace is canny: she knows when to ride that wave, to the extent that earlier this year she recruited one of Versace V.2’s key proponents, the young Italo-Belgian Antony Vaccarello, to helm the label’s Versus line. However, for autumn/winter 2015 she declared she was closing the door on the archive. “It’s not about rejecting the Medusa,” she said, before a catwalk backdrop where said snake-swirled visage was notable in it’s absence, “but times have changed.”

This collection marked Versace’s attempt to change with them. Or at least, their latest attempt. Donatella Versace always says her collections are about a new Versace woman, and she has gone a long way to forging one - or at least, forging her identity in the public mind. This time, that identity was focussed around daywear, a category Donatella asserts has always been present but rarely emphasised. What changed this time? Well, the Academy Awards were staged one week prior to the Versace winter show, thanks to the migration of the fashion calendar. The red carpet is the new eveningwear catwalk, asserted Donatella Versace in the soundbites she frequently (and, it must be emphasised, entirely naturally) talks in. Which means this show was about what the Versace woman does with her day.


“She’s at her computer,” states Donatella Versace. Apparently she’s at her computer in everything from high-rise trousers and a taut Versace sweater (realistic) to a cut-out double-cashmere coat and crotch-high patent boots (less so, although it’s easier than trying to walk in the signature towering heels). The digital mood of that surfing infused the show as a whole, in black slashed with lurid green, yellow or red, the colours of the glowing graphics of lo-tech eighties computer screens. Those dominated, as did graphics based around emoticons, hashtags and scrambled digital prints of Versace’s signature Greek key, combined with an “emoji” Versace devised especially for themselves. The letters of Versace’s name were also scrambled, like a spam email, jumbled on knitwear and short, sexy, beaded dresses that shattered that ostensible, sensible daywear theme.

This was Versace’s ode to the Internet age. The hashtags and Instagram handles printed and embroidered over these clothes seemed a bit gimmicky - you wonder, in ten years time, if Versace scholars may look back and inwardly cringe at how passé the whole thing appears. Nevertheless, as the industry at large figures out how to meld age-old luxury with digital-age technology, Versace’s bold stab felt valiant and timely.