There are certain things that make a classic Versace show. A killer curve and the molten glint of metal mesh are to the Versace look as parmesan is to pasta. Sure, you can enjoy one without the other but, together they are like nothing else on earth.
By those criteria, Donatella Versace's AW12 collection was a feast. The collection kicked off with gothic black carved into an hour glass silhouette, decorated with jewelled Byzantine crosses, accessorised with fishnet boots, a thumping soundtrack and a don't-mess-with-me-attitude. It closed with a collection of dresses that explored the outer limits of body conscious potential in metal mesh. No one has ever 'owned' chain mail quite like Versace.
It's been a good year for Donatella. Last November she rocked a runway in NY with her collaboration for H&M and seduced a whole new audience from Singapore to San Francisco with that sexy silhouette. Back then she told me she had been energised and inspired by re-discovering the classic codes of the house for a new generation and a new market. The medicine is clearly still working. In January she made a glittering return to the Paris couture.
And, on Friday night in Milan, in the tented venue built on the back garden of the famous Palazzo Versace, she consolidated her position with a collection that channeled the red carpet edge of Rooney Mara and, with some authority, saw off any lingering sense that a pastel coloured romatic escapist fantasy is where the future of fashion lies.
Models with cropped fringes, a high heeled strut and and hollow eyed make up chanelled the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo in sweaters embroidered or stamped with crosses over flippy skirts. Corseted sheaths were shaped into hip exaggerating curves with chrome fins. And hourglass tailored coats clung to the body on corseted waists.
It was fast, furious and very, very Versace.
by Paula Reed in Milan