There were four distinct stories in Donatella Versace's new Versus collection. The strongest one was, inevitably, the rock 'n' roll group, closest to her heart. A black leather dress with a big gold zip, a denim-backed leather biker, a halter dress with deep lace inserts, a leopard-print bomber in rabbit fur
obviously all these pieces spoke to Donatella's own affection for the world of the guitar band, with backstage pass a vital accessory. But a girl—or a boy—has to graduate to that world, which is why this collection was staggered through the various stages of Versus.
The first level was prep, viewed through the distorting lens of Versace World. Imagine the house's signature baroque prints zapped with kaleidoscopic color and applied to pert little blousons, cheerleader skirts, and skinny jeans. Moving right along to the collegiate level: varsity jackets, the baroque prints now more muted and sophisticated, plus the introduction of neoprene to nail the look.
Third story: a mod moment that brought the collection back to the roots of Versus, in Donatella's love of London rock—pied de poule checked suits, striped shirts, camel coats with black velvet collars. This particular group crystallized the designer's appetite for androgyny: boys and girls in a polymorphous fashion stew. Maybe that's now, maybe that's not. But the last story was all Donatella. And that's what the world loves.