At a time when young designers are worshipping at the shrine of Gianni Versace, Donatella glanced around at what's happening and seized the moment with a flick of her hair. If anyone knows about glam-rock and eighties bedazzlement, it is, of course, D.V. As if to gesture toward that point, she opened her powerfully focused collection to an astonishing mash-up of Jimi Hendrix and Michael Jackson. No literal rehash of the past, the rigorously graphic parade of short A-line shifts and navy, purple, and bottle-green patent-and-fur coats strode out on shiny, violet-soled boots and long matte legs, glinting with sharpness of intent.
Echoing a sentiment expressed by her friend Miuccia Prada earlier in the week, these were clothes "for a woman who stands up for her opinions." In other words: Basta, girlie. Instead of plunging cleavage, Donatella focused on shape and ultraluxe contrasts of texture, sending out the most-wantable, fiercely chic coats Milan has to offer. She cut volume into an extraordinary black caban with patent piping and an astrakhan lining, implanted V-shape patent strips into matte jersey and knits, and banded deep ridges of chinchilla into cuffs or wrapped them into weightlessly wicked chevron cocoons. These ideas, along with some glamorously oversize chunky sweaters that flew like ponchos in the back, put Versace once again at the forefront of fashion.
Even the house's elaborate gowns have been stripped of excess. Shorn of embroidery, their colorsmagenta, peacock blue, pearly gray, shell pink, and gunmetaland technical feats speak for themselves. Never mind if there was a few too many. This collection revealed a new Donatella Versace, in charge and sending sparks on a creative level she's never reached before.