Subtle, Versace is not.
Last night I made my way into Versace’s show space on Via Gesu–which is usually “mood” lit so dimly that I have to watch my every step–to find a stark-white, insanely brightly lit room, arranged in a sort of maze-like structure, with the audience seated in the center. Oh, and Janet Jackson was there.
Yes. Janet, in a leather biker jacket with her braids pulled into a high ponytail, was holding court in the front row. (Lana Del Rey was also there).
And the collection certainly paid homage to Jackson’s love of leather and latex (think Rhythm Nation). There were latex dresses, pants, coats, skirts, jackets–you get the picture. The two latex bodysuits which opened the collection, one in black and one in white, matched with a long jacket, could have easily been one of Jackson’s stage costumes. And, of course, you can’t see a red leather biker jacket without thinking of Janet’s brother Michael. Before the show got underway, both Janet’s and Michael’s music was pumped through the loud speakers–though neither Jackson sibling’s music featured on the runway playlist.
The collection also paid homage to London (or St. Marks St.) punk. Plaid in grey and yellow, as well as slightly garish animal prints, accented the mostly black, white and red collection. Long nails pierced the ears of models, or closed the necklines and bodices of jackets and dresses. Other models wore spiky dog collars, or leather or metallic belts wrapped around their torsos.
Some pieces, like the slick latex pants equipped with a wallet chain, or the tattered punk t-shirt worn underneath a metallic harness, looked like they could have walked right out of Tripp NYC. Others, like a smart tuxedo jacket, with nail-clusters on the lapels, the expertly tailored biker jackets, and the body-con mini-dresses, belied the collection’s designer origins–and designer prices.
The eveningwear perfectly fused the collection’s punk inspiration with Versace’s ultra-glamorous, ultra-sexy design codes. A shiny one shouldered gown was inlaid with shredded fabric not unlike that seen on the back of a well-worn t-shirt. Gowns were twisted to reveal flesh and then clasped with rough nails, leather belts, or dog collars. The finale looks, which echoed the debut, were latex gowns in black and white, which had been slashed through with sheer panels. Let’s just say we wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Janet wearing one of them in the coming months.