Star Wars fever has got everyone, including Donatella Versace it seems. Or maybe it was the ultimate space man, David Bowie, who'd got her going for A/W 16. It was his words that echoed through the show space as the models took their final lap - ‘ground control to Major Tom.' But no one brings Donatella back down to earth. Major, is the better word for her. From the showy fibre optic tracksuits that opened the show, worn by sprinting models, to the saccharine, spacey palette, this was a festival of retro futurism - a parody of modernity.
Team Versace were clearly pursuing newness this show season. They’d abandoned their usual venue in favour of a cavernous dedicated event space on Viale Eginardo, big enough to let the models walk an elaborate star shape. Versace are clearly looking to the future - to a brave new world. That was suggested in the details - the metal embellishments and eyelets that snaked up trouser legs and cuffs in a way that suggested the garments were becoming part of a grid. Some were astrological prints, a detail from the Versace archive that had been adapted and revitalised, others were a new star map featuring the famous Medusa. Aside from these almost cartoon ‘futuristic’ references, there were some genuine nods to the changing fashion landscape and the new male consumer, but these were in shape rather than surface. Tracksuits were a big feature, as were other casual pieces such as drawstring trackpants and MA-1s. They felt more relevant than any of the spacey star prints - after all, they’re the new essentials. Few men wear a suit everyday anymore, given changes to office culture. Many engage with a tracksuit everyday. The luxury market needs to take this on board.
But Donatella is not one to bow to consensus or the norm. She had played with control for A/W 16. Some models emerged with cameras strapped to their chest as though they were filming us. Who was watching who? The Versace man is a force to be reckoned with. And the force was with him for A/W 16. As the soundtrack chanted - V.E.R.S.A.C.E.