Donatella Versace recently declared that she'd been drawing inspiration from the menswear her brother Gianni designed in the early '90s, when the house managed to marry exquisite technique to exuberant vulgarity. There were certainly elements of that union in her collection for spring 2006, particularly in the revival of the rococo silk shirts that were a Gianni signature. Their pastel tones (pistachio, pink, blue, lilac) suggested the sun-bleached Art Deco palaces of the late designer's beloved South Beach, an association that was compounded by jackets with sleeves pushed up in the manner favored by Don Johnson as Miami Vice's Sonny Crockett.
Those jacketsand their accompanying trouserswere the tailored crux of the collection, so much so that Donatella's focus on them bordered on the repetitive. But there's no denying the potency of the Versace vision of male glamour. In their nipped-waist monochrome suits and spectator shoes, with skin bronzed and hair oiled, the models were the very embodiment of celluloid fantasyand for good measure, they were accompanied down the catwalk by a vixen or two. "It's always about sex," Donatella hissed after the show. But at the house of Versace, it's also always about celebrity: Usher and Brooke Shields made a typically incongruous front-row pair.