Monday, June 22, 2015

BEAUTY: Clothing--Versace

I am not an admirer of Versace. The brand was still relatively young when Gianni Versace was assassinated in 1997. His sister Donatella took control of the house as creative director and it is hard to argue that she took the brand to places it had never been: bigger sales, bigger attention, bigger earnings. But bigger, as they say, is not necessarily better. I have rarely been attracted to a Versace collection. They usually appear to me to be artless and somewhat crass. They feel flashy for the sake of being flashy...without any substance. Clothes for wealthy people without any taste or style or imagination.

But only a handful of times has there been a Versace collection that actually feels like it was inspired by something, and thought out and presented in a substantive way. And this Spring Summer '16 collection shown at Milano Moda Uomo seems to show Donatella practicing some uncharacteristic restraint and mining an idea and a silhouette not part of her usual vocabulary. There were a few flashy pieces in the suite (the requisite tacky Versace track suit, the bulging-muscled tailoring of a suit), but for the most part, it seems to have been inspired by traditional exotic clothing in locales like Istanbul, Marrakesh, or even Delhi. Kurta-like long shirts billowed out from beneath blazers, jackets and tops, lending a Bedouin-desert feel. Indeed, a quote from "Lawrence of Arabia" was projected on the back wall ("No Man Needs Nothing"). It all ends up feeling very well-traveled and worldly...

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