A “Versace for All” Concept Sends Mixed Messages

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Versace used to appeal to a very narrow scope of women – tall, leggy, impossibly thin, and ready to show it all off. But from Versace for one to Versace for all, the Italian luxury house has gotten a lot more democratic lately. For Fall/Winter 2020, the runway show even included an equal number of menswear looks for the first time. And there’s no better way to speak to both genders (and the crossover nature of swapping wardrobes between them) than with sportswear and suiting. 

“Who is the man and who is the woman of today? The reason I wanted to show my men’s and women’s collections together today is because men and women are equally powerful. It doesn’t have anything to do with gender, it’s that their power comes from a different type of confidence, both from their sensual exuberance and their minds,” Donatella Versace shared in a statement to the press. Of course, this is a Versace show, so all of the daywear was a precursor to nighttime glamour, with looks that riffed on the line-up from Gianni Versace’s final couture show.

Versace Fall/Winter 2020
Photo: Courtesy of Imaxtree

Perhaps this collection would have fared better by editing out some of the excess that, at times, read more Cavalli than Versace.

Rewind to the beginning, and there are dozens of daywear options to choose from, with plenty of men’s looks that work just as well on the ladies – and vice versa. There were tracksuits, rugby sweaters, puffas, and cropped parkas for the streetwear crowd, and zebra-striped suits, LBDs with windowpane cut-outs, and flared-and-cropped trousers for the business-minded. Past seasons have seen Donatella Versace getting maximal with mixed prints, and Fall/Winter 2020 offered more of the same.

Lurid, ultra-bright florals came paired with animal prints, while psychedelic matching separates sent vivid visuals into overdrive. There were some retro moments, too, thanks to striped leather and denim pieces that channeled the 1970s, and big-cat furs in the mix as well. If it sounds like a lot, that’s because it was. In an effort to be all things to all people, one runs the risk of diluting the message. Perhaps this collection would have fared better by tightening up the offerings and editing out some of the excess that, at times, read more Cavalli than Versace.

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