M.I.A.'s Versus Versace Collection Was Inspired by Knockoffs

After a month of rumor and speculation, it's official: M.I.A. designed the next capsule collection for Versus Versace. And it has a pretty irreverent point of inspiration.
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After a month of rumor and speculation, it's official: M.I.A. designed the next capsule collection for Versus Versace. And it has a pretty irreverent point of inspiration.
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After a month of rumors and speculation, it's official: M.I.A. has designed the next capsule collection for Versus Versace—and this time around, the whole concept has a self-aware sense of humor about it. Launching on October 16, the line is inspired by all that counterfeit Versace that abounds in sketchy markets around London.

According to WWD, the 19-piece mens and womenswear collection will feature printed jeans, silky shirts, t-shirts, jersey dresses, and military coats and jackets. Details reference the oft-copied Versace signature imagery, like that gold Medusa head and the colorful Greek frieze, but with a streetwear twist. As it turns out, the rapper/singer was the one who pitched the irreverent idea to the Versace creatives and execs.

“I adore the energy of the street, so when M.I.A. proposed to expose the issue of counterfeit Versace pieces by creating a collaboration inspired by these items, I thought it was an incredible idea,” Donatella Versace told WWD. “The collection represents all that I love of the new Versus Versace: it’s fast, it’s noisy, it’s brazen and it blends the world of music with that of fashion. I can’t wait to see it worn.”

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Faux Versace has been so prevalent over the years that it practically has a cachet of its own--especially within the entertainment industry (of course, some "homages" are better than others, eh hem, House of Versace).

“The theme of counterfeits, of those that produce and sell them has always been part of the culture of M.I.A.,” the singer, whose next album is out on Nov. 5, stated. “When I was contacted by Versace, it seemed a great idea to invert the circle. Versace’s designs have always been copied, now it’s Versace that copies the copies, so those that copy must copy the copies. So this will continue.”

(Just say that really slowly a few times and it'll start to make sense.)

Last year, Donatella Versace reinvented the Versus label to feature a rotating roster of guest designers and fashion creative types to create season-less capsule collections. Buzzy Brit (and recent LVMH hire) J.W. Anderson was the first, followed by a small partnership with K-Way, and M.I.A. makes second full collection, which may be a signal of more collaborators from the music and entertainment realms to come.

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Photos: Versus Versace