Donatella Versace has almost lost count of the number of Metallica concerts she’s been to. She is fashion’s original rock chick. But she also exudes the sense that rock was not just her way to rebel, but also her way to relax—away from the heady legacy of her brother Gianni. So Versus was her thing, and those New York shows in the late ’90s, with bands like Republica and the God-like genius of Stuart Price’s Les Rythmes Digitales playing live, are particularly happy memories for her. It was that tsunami of positivity that propelled the Versus revival show tonight.
She’s already cherry-picked a couple of fashion’s hottest names—Christopher Kane, J.W.Anderson— as coconspirators, but the newly anointed appointee, Anthony Vaccarello, may be the smartest choice yet. He certainly acquitted himself admirably with a collection that managed to be Versus in style and Versace in attitude. Vaccarello was 5 years old, with his grandparents in Sicily, when he first saw a Versace show on TV. It had the same effect on him as a football game probably had on other boys his age. “So working with Donatella was very organic,” he said. Which probably accounted for a highly focused series of body-conscious black pieces accented with gold buttons, clasps, belt buckles, and breastplates. Tailor-made for Lady Versace herself.
A black-and-white print evoked classic Versace rococo. So did the Grecian key motif that made an asymmetric trim on little black wrap dresses. There was some of Gianni’s old black magic in a lattice of leather, knitted together with gold. The construction was scarcely as complex as in those olden days—and there was little of the gleefully campy excess that still occasionally infects Versace’s main line—but there was a strength in the simplicity, although Vaccarello insisted there were no compromises in design. In a digital first, everything was immediately available for sale online, and these pieces will read well on the Internet.
After the show, the crowd trooped upstairs for a performance by St. Vincent, whose coruscating guitar licks echoed every single killer solo you’ve ever heard. Anne Clark is just the kind of rock rebel Donatella should celebrate, and her mere presence added an element of unhinged recklessness that the clothes couldn’t hope to emulate. Which meant her halo effect was invaluable.
Photo: Fabio Iona / Indigitalimages.com