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Versace Goes Utilitarian for Spring 2016

Donatella's army is filled with supermodels.
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A look from Versace's spring 2016 collection. Photo: Imaxtree

A look from Versace's spring 2016 collection. Photo: Imaxtree

From car washes to over-the-top statement accessories to paillettes and sequins, Milan Fashion Week was feeling as maximalist as ever for spring 2016. It presented an unusual challenge for Versace, typically one of the week's most sexy, colorful, in-your-face shows. Given the high-octane mood among her contemporaries, we thought this was going to be one of Donatella Versace's sparkliest collections yet. Instead, she went in the opposite direction, showing utilitarian-inspired (but still sexy) silhouettes in a dark palette of black, army green and khaki. Yes, I promise I was at the right show.

According to a release, the Versace woman had been "unleashed in the urban jungle." She wore her tailored utility jackets cinched at the waist with a belt, and had a plethora of animal print sweatshirts, blouses and dresses to choose from. There were a few body-con dresses — but far less than we're used to — and thigh-baring cocktail dresses with cutouts had more of a streetwear vibe than usual. Shoes were high-heeled, but had a rubberized sole.

The show took place at a new venue, too: Instead of holding two small shows in a row at its headquarters, Versace used a much larger, arena-like show space in order consolidate them. This is something other houses have done as well, perhaps to make a little more room on the schedule — or to save some money. Milan's economy isn't the strongest these days.

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As per usual for Versace, the casting was stellar: Gigi Hadid, Behati Prinsloo, Natasha Poly, Anna Ewers, Mariacarla Boscano, Joan Smalls, Liya Kebede and Edie Campbell were among the top ladies who walked. Naomi Campbell and Heidi Klum sat in the front row, alongside Riccardo Tisci (who cast Donatella Versace in his fall campaign) and Hadid's boyfriend Joe Jonas.

Overall, we think this utilitarian collection was a smart move on Versace's part. Another show filled with colorful sequins and exclusively sexy silhouettes would have been predictable and forgettable. For Milan at least, this was unique.