Days before his untimely death, Giovanni Versace showed his Fall-Winter 1997/98 couture collection (video), a collection that was to mark a darker and more modern direction for the Italian house. Nearly 15 years later his sister, Donatella Versace, picked up where his vision was cut short. For her Fall 2012 collection, Versace breathed new life into the gothic and futuristic designs of her brother's last collection, her versions however were grossly amplified and comprised of other iconic elements synonymous with the house during Giovanni's two decade career.
Black was the color of choice for the beginning of the show; models -all with short, severely cut bangs, smoked eyes and eyebrows dyed to the color of their skin (think Rooney Mara after The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)- marched down the runway in black looks made of rich velvet, leather, and wool. Skirts, jackets, and dresses halted above the knee, making way for knee-high leather and fishnet boots. After the obsidian beginning, Versace sent out bursts of colors -acid yellow and blaze orange. Taken straight from Giovanni's last collection, pieces were adorned with Byzantine crucifixes. Crosses were leather appliquéd, photo-printed, and bejeweled onto dresses, coats, bags and shoes. Other elements borrowed from the house's archive were structured arcs on the hips, chainmail, metal eyelets, and multiple buckles. Donatella ended her trip to the past and took us to the future; gone were her gothic crusaders, now the runway was dominated by galactic goddesses. Metal draped models like fabric; the heavy garments moved freely by the use chainmail and ringlets connected by links.
From re-commissioning some of the house's most iconic designs, like the palm print, to rejoining the official couture calendar this past January, Donatella is showing that she is breaking free of her insecurities and embracing what her brother started. Revisiting Giovanni's final collection, of which she said before was "too painful" and "too private" to reference, is her bravest move yet.
- Damoy McKenzie
Photo credits: WWD