With two high profile magazine editorships currently seeking new incumbents (British Vogue and Elle) the front row – buoyant with contenders – at Milan Fashion Week has reached a particularly tense and fevered gossip boiling point.
However, the Versace show offered some relief to the journalists names on everyone’s lips (all are convinced of their definitive shortlist, no one actually knows anything); for the focus was batted back across the catwalk to Donatella Versace, rumoured to be in the process of offering or at least sharing the reigns of her late brother’s house with her friend Riccardo Tisci, who has latterly stepped down from his post as creative director at Givenchy.
With no announcement forthcoming, it was however business as usual for the platinum haired 61-year-old doyenne of Milanese fashion, who impressed upon guests her consistent message for the strong, modern woman – this season offering emancipation through “cocktail sportswear.”
At a preview of the collection, she enthused that, “I talk to women all the time, and we have to fight. Right now there is so much going on in the world, and everything we [as women] have achieved could finished tomorrow. We cannot permit that. We are women. It’s important that we are united in order to have a better future for everybody.”
This fighting female spirit has been prevalent throughout this politicised season of shows, but Versace perhaps offers the most high octane interpretation.
Her new power woman suiting impressed. The opening look, a black double-breasted jacket hemmed with pretty sheer tulle, paired with a white shirt buttoned, came with rounded shoulders (“but not exaggerated, because we need to look good”) and was worn with bare legs – this is Versace after all.
The collection continued with pretty degrade detailed cocktail dresses – one falling in shades of teal blue to black – and coats (again with those rounded shoulders) merging from navy into a pretty pink and red tweed.
Other evening looks ranged from flirty floral minis to midi length alternates in the same print – a canny move appealing to a gamut of women’s taste. Equally one could pick either a demure bright red cocktail dress or skinny chain mail effect molten number.
Court shoes and kitten heels were given a sports-edge with ankle straps bearing the name of the house on the front.
The fusion of executive with street style was most pronounced in a look worn by Kendall Jenner; her pencil skirt was paired with a cropped yellow and blue puffa jacket (handily reversible) perfect for the working woman who finds herself at a bus stop in the rain.
There was succinct sloganing throughout the collection, declaring Versace’s mantras for autumn winter: “unity”, “strength” “courage” and “loyalty.” All in all, not a bad way to approach life, or indeed one’s wardrobe.