A runway collection inspired by a furniture movement: Is this a first? The Versus line for Spring 2004 was a fashion version of Memphis, Ettore Sottsass’s early eighties design company. Donatella Versace applied the group’s graphic blocks, striped bands, and screwy clashes of primary and pastel colors to all things tight and short, strapping clothes onto the body with stretchy harnesses or wide elasticized bands. Meanwhile, a mammoth screen at the back of the set showed lithe silhouettes dancing against the offbeat patternsone like a print of medicine capsulesthat appeared on the clothes.
The result may have been cleaner and more athletic than Versace’s usual trashed-up, rock-chick vision, but it was a sharp departure from the sweet and girly message the rest of Milan has been putting out. On the other hand, the odd bizarre item (like a teal-and-salmon printed leather anorak; or a pair of crazy multi-striped, color-blocked wedges) might strike a girl as just the thing to break up the monotony of next summer’s wall-to-wall prettiness.