Since parting ways with One Direction and embarking on a much-hyped solo career, Zayn Malik — now known simply as "Zayn" — has been a fixture on the fashion circuit. Not only has he covered the likes of Dazed, Paper, Elle UK and L'Uomo Vogue (and starred alongside his girlfriend Gigi Hadid in a steamy, Mario Testino-shot editorial for Vogue US), but he's also made the front-row rounds, including sitting with Hadid to watch the Versus Versace show during London Fashion Week. (Lest you forget, Hadid has been the face of Versace for both spring and fall 2016, and her sister, Bella Hadid, walked this season's Versus Versace show as a London exclusive.)
Versace has emerged as one of the musician's go-to labels as of late: Zayn chose a Versace suit — with one arm covered in armor-like metal — for the Met Gala in May, and featured pieces by the Italian house in his video for "Pillow Talk." Clearly the affection is mutual, because on Wednesday, the New York Times announced that Zayn will partner with Donatella Versace herself on a capsule collection of clothing for both men and women, which will be presented to buyers and editors in the spring. Called Zayn x Versus, the collection will officially drop in May in Versus stores globally and online.
Since Anthony Vaccarello left Versus in April to take the creative director gig at Saint Laurent, Versus has been without a permanent designer, and Zayn seems like a buzzworthy interim solution — as well as a profitable one, if Hadid's recent collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger is any indication. The streetwise, rock-and-roll attitude that Versus is known for is well-personified in Zayn, and as an added bonus, he can expose the brand to his millions of millennial followers. "Versus is everything that the Versace line is not. It is loud, it is rebellious — I don't want shoppers buying both from Versus and Versace. The houses have different souls," Donatella Versace told the Times. "I wanted Zayn because he can help me talk to his followers. I want to listen to their language. I want to learn more about them, what they think and what they like. They are a new generation that without working with someone like Zayn, I will never reach."
This isn't Zayn's first foray into high fashion design despite a lack of training: He collaborated with Italian shoe legend Giuseppe Zanotti on a small range of styles, due out next year. Could Versus tour #merch be next should he ever take his "Mind of Mine" show on the road? We can only dream.