Anthony Vaccarello and Donatella Versace come from little Italian villages that are a stone's throw from one another, but that's not all they have in common. They both are card-carrying members of the "more sex please" club — and Versus by Versace nailed that sentiment home with its spring 2016 runway show. It was a juggernaut of the "naked dressing" trend – and done by Vaccarello, the sex factor was off the charts.
The pieces were mostly black, and the architectural peek-a-boo cuts took the cutout trend, well, a cut above — somehow they seemed cleaner, less vulgar than what we've been subjected to in the past. An elegant naked dress? Yup, Vaccarello just pulled it off. The casting in this co-ed show was pretty entertaining, too. Lily Donaldson, Erin Wasson and Malika Firth all strutted on by – because you don't walk in this stuff, you strut.
Following brands like Burberry and Moschino, Versus by Versace has joined the rush to sell directly after its runway show. This collection was available to buy right away at the Versus shops, including its new Shoreditch digs.
The standout of the whole production was, of course, Versace herself, who was perched in the front row with Christopher Kane and FKA Twigs sporting a new, elegant haircut extending just past her shoulders. She has never looked better.
Of course, we know that Henry Holland of the House of Holland experimented with that same sales tactic last season with his inaugural men's collection, but this season he went a step further. Five lucky VIPs, including Alexa Chung, were given rings created with Visa, which they could tap to instantly purchase runway items as they passed by. (She ran on the runway to tap look 15.) It was an interesting proof of concept, if not an entirely useful one.
And the collection? Well let's just say, thank God for show notes. Usually I read show notes last to see first if I can figure out what is going on, but this one perplexed me. Leopard mix with suede patchwork, ostrich feather on shoes, Terry Richardson glasses writ large, camo, bugs and bucket hats. It was all so psychedelic. Then the penny dropped when the notes were read. Holland's starting point was the ultimate journalist reprobate, Hunter Thompson, and his iconic book, "Fear in Loathing in Las Vegas." For those too young to remember the '70s, the book was basically all about one gigantic acid/ether/mescaline/cocaine and booze trip. In usual HoH style, the collection was fun, different and madcap. And we are amazed he wasn't napping backstage as now he has added a new job to his growing list of careers – he is now the host of a new show called "The Changing Room," all about, yup, the changing room. If anyone can make that a better experience, it is Holland.
The wonderfully oddball fashion mavericks Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones significantly upped their game for Teatum Jones's spring 2016 collection, pivoting on a tricky subject that fashion seems to be addressing more and more: politics and conflict. Their muse was Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian peace activist who led a group of female visionaries on a quest for peace. Their demonstrations worked: President Charles Taylor was exiled in 2003 — remember him, from the Naomi Campbell diamond scandal? All that led to the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa's first female head of state, and the beginning of peace in a country that was otherwise known for corruption and chaos. The duo discovered Gbowee through a TV documentary, tracked her down and interviewed her for inspiration. As Teatum tells us: "I feel so inspired by the last six months… and there are so many more places to take it."
Gbowee is a pretty heady muse. The clothes reflected not just the gravitas of the occasion, but the relief of emancipation. There were of course a few fabrics that were African in theme and exploded with the joyous colors of liberation, but there were also more modest-looking fabrics that represented the poverty of the country. Teatum points out that they were inspired by "protest outfits" and, in spirit, pared back the palette to monochromes.
But make no mistake, Teatum and Jones are fabric specialists, and work only with luxury mills. So tonal surfaces, graffiti mural patterns, checks and 3D techniques, guipure lace and sports mesh all looked so ahead of the game. The shapes themselves were what is now vintage Teatum Jones, sexy in a subversive way, not obvious – a flash of a clavicle, a sheer skirt under a skirt, a military-like cargo trouser that hammered home the idea of female power. But it almost didn't matter: we were sold just with the theme. What brought out the hankies was at the end when the duo did their bow: Jones wore a sweatshirt saying "Welcome" whilst Teatum wore one that said "Refugees." Teatum Jones, you just brought humanity into fashion, and brought in a new perspective. For that, thank you.
Earlier in the afternoon in sunny Piccadilly, Georgia May Jagger hosted a tea party for Sunglass Hut and told us about her foray into photography: "For one of the Sunglass Hut campaigns, I took a picture of my mum, and for the opening of the NYC flagship a few years back, they were nice enough to put my photography all over the walls." She tells us with that famous gap-tooth grin: "If they want, I would happily go behind the camera for them again."
At the event though, the posters on the wall were all of her, most definitely in front of the camera. She is, after all, the brand ambassador/model for the Sunglass Hut spring 2016 line called "Punked Up." It did actually live up to its billing as she walked us through the collection, pointing out her favorites and telling us: "You know, I think it would be a really good step to try out designing a pair of glasses for the Sunglass Hut. I am totally into design, as you know it's not my first experience." Oh, we know. GMJ has designed for Hudson jeans, Reserved and Mulberry, and was even carrying the emerald green "biker pouch" bag that looked too cool paired with her Shrimps outfit. This girl is going places.