The designer Veronica Etro (right) and her models enjoy the closing moments of her show during the 2015 spring/summer collections at Milan Fashion Week / Getty Images

Despite gym-bunny trappings, the sportswear message comes through in the general mood - a relaxation, a loosening up

Donatella Versace always says her collections are about a "new Versace". In fact, they never are. They rarely change that much. They're about the many faces of Versace as it already exists, and each facet glitters like a diamond. Or like a great swathe of diamante chainmail - racking up a bit cheaper, but with no lesser impact. There were bolts of the stuff slaloming their way through the spring/summer 2015 Versace collection, bisecting torsos and jangling in evening dresses with a gladiatorial flair.

"Sports," said Donatella Versace before the show sprinted off. Then, glancing around at the hyper-high heels, the aerated leathers and all that glitz, she checked herself. "My sports."

Donatella Versace herself is the all-important ingredient in the label's mix. If the house of Versace were a sports team, she wouldn't be the star player: she'd be coach, manager and mascot rolled into one. The players are the clothes.

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A model presents a creation from the Versace collection during the 2015 Spring / Summer Milan Fashion Week (AFP)

This season her sporty spice came through in Grecian-woven elastic waistbands peeking out from above low-slung tailoring, in a multitude of knits, in the go-faster contrasts of toothpaste aqua, orange and black. The trademark Versace hardware was limited to Olympian rings, via oversized chrome eyelets studding dresses, or streamlined into hyperreal trompe l'oeil prints. Those were poppy and peppy, but they lacked the immediate, graphic impact of the rest of the offering.

Despite gym-bunny trappings, the sportswear message was communicated most powerfully in the general mood - a relaxation, a loosening up. "Shapes are forgiving, not unforgiving," said Donatella, nailing the major difference. There was a swing rather than a cling to the garments, as models strode by, still stomping on the heels she is loath to surrender. "In a way," she said, "it's easier."

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Italian designer Donatella Versace greets the audience at the end of her show (AFP)

Ease of course is relative. Not many would feel comfortable with the twin plexiglass stilts Donatella sports strapped to their gams every day. But footwear aside, this Versace collection was indeed easier: both to wear and to understand. Forget deviation from signature: Medusa heads stared out from scrambled prints, and the graphic right-angles of Versace's trademark trim wended their way across brief evening dresses reminiscent of Gianni Versace's mid-nineties work. Long, Donatella reckons, looks old right now; "It takes away from the freshness."

That's a bold statement for a house known for its jazzy, jangling evening gowns. But it's in mood with the moment - this season hemlines, like our attention spans, are short. Really, this collection was about satisfying those twin demands: a short, sharp message of short, sharp clothes. The "new" in the Versace we saw was reactivation rather than reinvention. Or maybe even rediscovery, of one of those glittering Versace faces that chimes with the here and now.

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