Versace Stuns with One of the Best Shows this Season … Or Any Season

As a fashion editor who watches a couple of hundred shows at a desk every fashion month, it’s rare that I find myself gushing the way I have since watching the Versace Fall / Winter 2015 show. When your girlfriend is tired of hearing you talk about a runway show, you know something has happened.

The show begins in what appears to be a darkened Chinese temple, and immediately explodes with a kind of sinuous, street-strutting, late-’70s disco Superfly-intensity. But taken as a whole, the collection effects what amounts to a mashup of multiple eras — late-’60s, ’70 and ’80s — and, almost as an afterthought, layers on an inspired cold fusion of East and West.

It’s the kind of collection that could only come from a life lived in fashion, as Donatella Versace surely has. And the almost obscene ease with which it seems to come together recalls the mastery of someone like Jimi Hendrix, achieving what would surely be impossible if not for the unmistakable presence of the Holy Spirit.

The almost obscene ease of the collection recalled the artistry of a master like Jimi Hendrix.

Here are knee-high boots from Swinging London, but backed with a black stripe, like the magnetized strip of a credit card. Giant Ming Dynasty belts accent mini-dresses with asymmetrical dropped hems, recalling late-’60s TV sci-fi chic. Mod-styled color-blocks channel a modern pan-Asian palette. Other dresses feature luminous, Tron-like stripes. And voluminous, dark, enveloping-yet-structured faux-fur ensembles are embellished by a single bronze Chinese medallion, shining through the dark like a cipher.

You might think all that was adventurous enough for one show. But apparently not. Later looks featured playful graphic elements that, combined with muted peacock patterns and plaids, seemed to synthesize Shoichi Aoki’s Harajuku with an unmistakably Italian alta moda sensibility.

The result? A show blazing with glamour: dangerous, confident, and cutting to the point of predation. Fashion with bit of playful fun. A look back. A move forward.

In short, everything — simply everything — fashion can be, and should be.

Unbelievable glamour: dangerous, confident and cutting to the point of predation.

FWO