There’s been much chatter this fashion month about how un-exciting virtual shows and presentations are, especially when compared to the real-life versions they are replacing.
That may all be true. But Versace’s show still managed to be one of the most captivating moments of Milan Fashion Week, even if it was digital-only.
The social promo leading up to the show may have helped a bit. The day before, Versace released a variety of preview images of its “Versaceapolis,” a “utopian settlement on the seabed ruled by Medusa with principles of empowerment, strength and beauty”(according to the Instagram caption). Another post revealed the Medusa head carved into stone, sitting at the imaginary bottom of the sea, surrounded by Poseidon- and Adonis-esque statues and other artifacts meant to create a Greco-Roman, Atlantis-like setting that also felt vaguely like a live-action stage for Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”
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Explore the unknown 🔵 over eighty percent of the ocean floor is completely unexplored, unmapped and unseen by human eyes. Until today, that is. @donatella_versace invites you to explore the seabed settlement of #Versacepolis to showcase a collection inspired by the beauty and vibrancy of the natural world. We hope the show – staged somewhere between fantasy and reality – encourages you to dream and brings you a sense of joy. #VersaceSS21 #MFW
But what Versace’s success in showing virtually ultimate came down to was the thrill of just being Versace. While other brands are contemplating and belaboring over what people are actually wearing right now, how to adjust to new pandemic uniforms and cocoon their customers in pajamas or something like them, the Italian brand is remaining loyal to its own dress codes. The sexy dresses and sky-high platforms bring the promise of a more carefree life next year — even if only in an Ariel-like “Part of Your World” fantasy for now.
There was the very-Versace, look-at-me color palette, this time in oranges, blues, pinks and lime greens. Silhouettes were flouncy, with mini dresses and sexy slip dresses that mingled with sporty touches like zip-up hoodies and athletic-like base layers (a similar practical approach that Prada took). Menswear took on the idea of a casual black suit dressed up with colorful printed shirts and cheeky accessories, like a striped necktie worn as a belt.
And the footwear was as unapologetic as ever. Exaggerated platforms in glossy patents blues were accented with thick gold chain links, while sexy high-heeled sandals got a square toe and ribbon or twisted leather accents (and matching anklet baubles). Handbags came in cotton candy pink with PVC-coated chain links. Water bottles were matched to shell-printed bikinis. Men’s shoes featured cutouts in woven black leather that revealed bright white socks (a current trend for fall that Versace has leaned into on its men’s collections).
There was nothing completely new for the brand about any of these details, and yet it felt exciting. Maybe it’s all of the beige slippers and cozy knit sweat sets we’re getting ready to wear this fall and winter — but we can’t wait for a sexy, sun-soaked, Atlantis-inspired Italian summer next year, à la Versace.