For the first time in a long time, Versace’s presentation decamped from its home on Via Gesú to an industrial space on the outskirts of Milan. The move represented Donatella Versace’s literal attempt to reach outside of her comfort zone, while her collection fell sway to the same theme. Although one could argue that Versace’s tiny dresses are hardly in anyone’s comfort zone — save for the very genetically gifted (0r modified) — the brand attempted to expand beyond its signature slinky aesthetic for Spring/Summer 2016. This time around, there were relaxed coordinated separates in abstract camo print, polo tees spliced from asymmetrical panels of colorful leopard print, relaxed shift dresses, and even cardigans.
Versace’s change in tone was apparent from the outset, as utilitarian looks took to the runway in tailored olive and khaki minis, surplus jackets, and military-green tops paired with shrunken shorts. Thematically, these ensembles were meant to depict women in an urban jungle, but the message was supported more directly by leopard mini dresses and netted looks topped with spotted appliqués. Print mixing was particularly vivid this season, as Versace collaged vibrant camo and animal prints together on coordinated separates, slashed and knotted dresses, and one-shoulder frocks. Sleeve volumes were amplified on several mini dresses, giving them top-heavy proportions that were uncharacteristically experimental for the brand. While expanded volumes, relaxed silhouettes, and army fatigue colors spoke to Versace’s attempts at reinventing itself, there were dozens of looks that supported its longstanding, sensual aesthetic. Tiny bandeau tops were paired with slit skirts, while most dresses featured thigh-skimming hemlines. However, change doesn’t always have to be radical and total. The fact that Versace is attempting to court a wider audience at all is a sign that the industry is paying attention to increased demands for wearability. All things considered, the collection was one of the more gracious and forward-thinking the brand has ever done.
Photos: Courtesy of Imaxtree