Donatella Versace and her army of Versace and Versus Versace models and celebrities have been living the empire state of mind throughout 2018 thus far. From the red carpets of the prestigious Met Gala and other big blockbuster movie premieres, to the stages of sought after musicians performing at award shows and music videos, to all-encompassing collections that have stolen the hearts of this generation’s fashionistas, with underlying themes that promote the values of strength, newness, courage and loyalty.
This fashion season, we take a look back at Versace’s accomplishments in 2018, and celebrate the fearless representation of what it means to be daring – a key value for Donatella and her vision for the brand.
A legion, however vast its number and in strength, is no good without a fearless leader at the helm. Artistic Director Donatella Versace secures her seat as queen towards the Versace clans ever so firmly, when in June, she was honoured with the International Award by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) – alongside illustrious honourees of the year, such as Ralph Lauren (A Members Salute Award), Edward Enninful (Media Award) and Narciso Rodriguez (Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award).
Donatella has been renowned for her reign in fashion, with a seductive mix of fearlessness, power, strength and glamour. Throughout the 20 years she has ruled the empire alongside her late brother and founder Gianni Versace – and Audrey Versace, the Jack Russell terrier of a Creative Collaborator to Donatella, she has brought a unique voice to the house by channelling riffs on punk, religion, sports, and the iconic Medusa and baroque, into the street and couture collections.
“What I love about America’s fashion is that people here truly have no fear in expressing themselves through their clothes,” comments The Royalty. “They really see them as a way of expressing who they are or their beliefs, and I am a strong advocate of this attitude, and I am happy to see that, especially the younger generations, are fearless of embracing it.”
For every Queen and country, there must be venerable captains to help lead the army – in Versace’s case, help spread the brand’s message and hype to the millennial generation via sought after movie stars and musicians they look up to, by engaging with the right A-listers at the right time.
Since late last year at the wake of the recent Star Wars film premiere, stars like John Boyega and Adam Driver were seen out and about in their smartest Versace suits yet. The Golden Globes Awards this year was an important one with the #TimesUp dress code, and Nick Jonas was sleek in his all-black suit with the “Time’s Up” statement pin upon his shiny lapel.
Also there to celebrate their ambassadors’ momentous milestones, Versace was there for Jennifer Lopez from the red carpet, to the onstage performance, to the after-party during the MTV Video Music Awards last month, when “Jenny from the Block” was honoured with the pivotal MTV Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. She was seen performing in a series of custom made Atelier Versace outfits, surrounding by her dancers, also all dressed in Versace for the occasion.
While also distinguishably spotted within the divine walls of the Louvre in the ‘Apesh*t’ video by Beyonce and Jay-Z (a.k.a The Carters), off their first album Everything is Love together, the epitome for the archangels of Versace congregated during the emblematic Vogue-organised Met Gala in May, which saw Donatella Versace as one of the Honorary Event Day chairs, alongside Anna Wintour, Amal Clooney and Rihanna.
Coinciding with the Costume Institute’s exhibition this year, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, which is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) from May 10 till October 8, Hollywood celebrities stole the spotlight at the red carpet, donned in Versace’s immaculate handiwork: Black Panther lead Chadwick Boseman in pastoral white, as well as 2Chainz and The Migos in Versace’s colourful baroque-style suits, not to mention, Blake Lively in her sweeping maroon gown with golden embroidery, and Katy Perry with majestic angelic wings to match her Atelier Versace do.
THE LONG SHOT
Having already garnered headlines back in Spring with the Versace Tribute womenswear collection, a tribute collection to Donatella’s brother and founder Gianni Versace on his 20th death anniversary – which featured the OG supermodels from the 1990s Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer and Cindy Crawford in head scarves and wraps of the iconic baroque swirls, the Versace family, consisting of at least 54 models featured, got together a few months back, and shot the longest-ever advertising image for the Versace Fall/Winter 2018 campaign.
Shot by Stephen Meisel, the image expresses inclusivity – something the world in general is striving towards in more recent times – a true representation of clans that embody everything Versace stands for: diversity, innovation, fearlessness and daring.
“My team doesn’t just extend to my work team. The Versace Clans are made of all members of the Versace family – from customers to models, fans, photographers, stylists, friends, artists and all who believe that staying relevant means moving forward and making your voice heard,” the Artistic Director proclaims. “All who believe that fashion is not a way to just say ‘look at me’ but rather ‘look at me, I have something to say’.”
The longest Versace line up is made up of a mega mix of personalities: Malick Bodian, Finnlay Davis, David Trulik, Josh Upshaw, Salomon Diaz, Dylan Fender, David Alexander Flinn, Remington Williams, Matt Pitt, Paul Hameline, Oscar Kindelan… From super models to young new talent, in looks that are all about confidence, using their bodies as a form of physical self-expression juxtaposed against the clothes that express their different personalities.
Besides that, Versace has also released a complementing video that exudes humour, (and perhaps even information for some), in which the featured models come together with Donatella to show us the proper way to pronounce “Versace” – not “Ver-sa-chee”.
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE
For men who aren’t afraid to explore his wildest side, the Versace Fall/Winter 2018 menswear collection reinvents the rules, ignores boundaries, and celebrates the art of individuality, through plays of house codes reinterpreted for the younger eyes and different subcultures, with an ironic yet comfortable Versace twist.
With a look-at-me personality that’s taken to another level, the collection answers the 5 W’s of fashion and styling: worn with what, on who, where to, when, and why not. Expect the unexpected, when the Amore e Psiche print with its ancient Greek elements and vivid colour palette, and the dramatic Sipario print can be found alongside tartan prints of different colours upon suits and coats.
Whereas basketball jersey are crafted from the finest silk, masculine tartan is complemented by flamboyant prints, and silk cushion inserts are placed on cotton sweatshirts – all harmonised with accessories of lush interior elements: heritage velvet prints on clutches, and travel bags that recall velvet curtains and drapes.
Finally, the new iconic Versace sneakers bring up the rear with its unmissable chain-link sole that speaks exclusively to the millennial generation.
An original design element that reinforces the link between the tailored and the casual, the Chain Reaction sneakers embrace the Versace DNA: the TPU lace cage gives lateral stability as its iconic Greca motif guarantees the unmistakable Versace touch; the Greca midsole detail is featured within the uber light outsole with a hidden Medusa underneath; the “puff croc” neoprene lining and tongue create extreme comfort and unmissable sporty attitude amidst Versace aesthetics; and the braille details on the toe reads “love”, a literal metaphor of the saying: love is blind.