With her latest men's show, Donatella Versace returned to Via Gesù 12, the spiritual—and actual—home of the label in the center of Milan. The move was very much in keeping with her refocus on Versace's iconic elements, an approach that is crystal-clear in her womenswear. That same focus has yet to manifest itself in the collection for men, however.
Last season, the line's latest creative director, Martyn Bal, went rockabilly. This season, he opted for a mood he somewhat reluctantly tagged "new wave." The initial stern monochromatics—the leathers, the white shirts and skinny black ties, the pointy boots—definitely had the angular Teutonic edge of a particular moment in early-eighties Berlin. So did the gray-toned jacquards that cropped up later in the show. But the stated theme of the collection was in fact 3-D, which is about as 2011 as you can get. It manifested itself to a degree in the optical knits or the surfaces that were raised on knits and leathers by quilting. The 3-D leathers reminded Donatella of Versace menswear from another era, which was apt, given the setting. And, seeing as we were pondering the past, the cobalt blue double-breasted coat also sparked a memory of a time when the Versace man bestrode the catwalk like a fashion colossus. The blue-steeled modern counterpart on today's runway was a pallid simulacrum.