Let's float a theory: The last few seasons of Versace's menswear have seen a paring-down of the clothinga purification, if you willas though the ground were being leveled for a major new design statement. Is recently employed consultant Alexandre Plokhov, designer of the late, lamented New York label Cloak, the deliverer of that statement? The first Versace collection in which he had any say certainly hinted at changes afoot, starting with the portentous blast of Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain, which opened the show. And if that didn't bear enough weight, there were also show notes that expounded on the concept of duality. "Nothing is as it seems," they proclaimed. Hence, a trenchcoat chicly trimmed down to jacket size.
In his own collections, Plokhov often leaned toward new-wave flourishes, and there were plenty here: polo shirts with dress collars; a high-waisted, deep-pleated pant; a jacket with lapels scissored away; suits that closed low with one button; a clutch of belts, buckles, and straps; and an occasional (but judicious) stab of red. But other items had an innate glamour that reflected the Versace legacy. A black coat shone like sharkskin, and the black-on-black eveningwear had a sinister elegance.