MILAN — In the first handful of looks in the Versace show were suits cut down the middle and bisected by pattern and color, Prince of Wales checks on one half, full black on the other. They were dual natured, let’s say, shown on both men and women, as if underscoring the hollowness of binary gender descriptors. There are a ton of ways Donatella Versace fails to get the credit she deserves, and a certain degree of sexism is built into that deficit.
More than two decades on, it feels like time to stop making references to Ms. Versace’s gifted brother, from whom she inherited the design mantle after his brutal murder in 1997, and in whose shadow she has worked ever since. Chameleonic Ms. Versace may be as she cycles through design teams, creative directors, stylists and influencers. Yet her natural coloration takes the form of her curiosity.
In the show of last week, the designer invoked car culture, biker culture, chav culture, punk culture, hippie culture, bondage culture — if bondage can be said to have a culture — and Keith Flint, the frontman of the band Prodigy, who died in March.
There were also a lot of signature Versace leopard prints, without which the world would be a far drabber place. Why not celebrate the fact that drab is a word no one would ever associate with Donatella Versace, any more than you would think of her design house as representing the ubiquitous trend toward anything eco-friendly or sustainable? Durable Versace certainly is, although sustainable … probably not so much.
Those Southern Italian brunette tresses of hers, for instance, were long ago replaced by elaborate weaves that, as far as anyone knows, may require the regular sacrifice of virginal Swedish blondes.
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