Should there be any questions hanging over the issue of whether it’s possible to show out as a full-on Nasty Woman while being sexy and compassionate at the same time, then Donatella Versace has some answers. Versace is a house which has glam female power set into its foundations, and Donatella is not about to go quietly into times which threaten the biggest setbacks to women’s rights and tolerance in generations.
The first thing which hit you was the tribe of models’ serious look of intent—their punkish cat-eye makeup; their color-streaked hair extensions; their leggy, purposeful stride. The first out wore a short, black double-breasted coatdress and a white shirt. Peeking out from under her hem was a sheer black slip with equality embroidered on it. Strong, black, uncompromisingly well-cut pantsuits, overcoats, little black dresses, boxy cropped jackets, and pencil skirts made a polished, precise argument for the comeback of tailoring.
And then there was the messaging—memos to self and the world—spelled out large and clear in block capitals on beanie hats, scarves, and T-shirts: UNITY, COURAGE, LOYALTY, LOVE. A press release called it “A call for unity and the strength that comes from positivity and hope.”
As vixenish as the Versace girls looked in their cutaway, fluttery slip dresses and giant streetwise orange-lined shearlings and puffas, the words Donatella is hoping to put out are noticeably nonaggressive. Womankind may enjoy holding the line in anything we choose, right up to the terrific slinkily draped chain-mail dresses, she seemed to be saying. It remains to be seen what good—if any—will come of wearing slogans out and about, but it is admirable that Donatella Versace is nailing her family company’s label to the mast of liberty.
Milan, February 25th, 2017. Article written by Sarah Mower.