After a season of upheavals, both personal and corporate, Donatella Versace seems to have found a new focusevident in a fall presentation that featured neither superstar DJ nor eardrum-pounding musical guest. In their place was an unrelenting emphasis on sharp, all-black tailoring and a preponderance of black leather, giving her latest men's show a no-nonsense, we-mean-business toughness. At the same time, there was a liberating message at the heart of the collection. Taking a cue from the idiosyncratic sartorial style of Warhol sidekick Fred Hughes, Donatella claimed that rules no longer apply: If you feel like it, why not wear a tux to the office, or a leather jacket to a black-tie event?
As easygoing as that may sound, it came across as anything but casual on the catwalk. A parade of severely tailored pinstripe suitstwo-button jacket, flat-front pantwas 007 sharp. A black leather trench also suggested secret-agent men, as did an insouciantly angled trilby or two. Black shaded into charcoal gray in a three-piece suit, finally giving way to a shot of colora purple turtleneck under a zipped velvet jacket. Leather pants had motocross detailing, while the accompanying jackets ran a seductive gamut: either long, belted, and multi-zipped or lined in black shearling. A handful of silk shirts in rich Klimt-like prints, and a fur-lined biker jacket in white leather, provided a counterpoint to the prevailing tone; further light relief came in the form of guest glamazon Raquel Zimmermann, in a crystal-drenched wisp of eveningwear. She got a hearty round of applause.