How to announce that this is Versace menswear for a new generation? Donatella Versace conscripted the sons of Mark Vanderloo, Helena Christensen, Carla Bruni, Meghan Douglas, André van Noord and Angela Lindvall — famous Versace models of the ’90s — to make their modeling debut on her spring runway.
“What I love about this new generation is that they like to dare. You can see they are curious,” Versace enthused during a preview at the brand’s slick Milan headquarters as a curly haired model swept into the room, his face flecked with gold from an earlier hair trial.
The designer helped unbutton his silk camp shirt to reveal the swimsuit-like top underneath; the sides carved out where love handles have yet to grow; the back bare like a brassiere.
She’s snapped easily into the age of sustainability, highlighting a range of eco fabrics, including a latex she employed for a black raincoat riddled with perforations. It might not keep you dry, or warm, but you’ll look cool.
Versace returned to the brand’s historic Via Gesu show venue for this reset, and excavated the archives, resurfacing prints her brother Gianni had created for La Scala productions in the ’90s, a logo from the early 2000s, and diamond-shaped slashes on leather that have been widely copied.
The show gathered momentum as the models wove between whirling green metallic plinths to a soundtrack of songs that name-dropped the Versace brand.
While awning-striped suits and topcoats didn’t exactly scream Gen Z, here was a more freewheeling version of Versace based on pieces rather than outfits: slashed leather pajama pants here, a cobalt blue workwear jacket there.
What stood out was a more playful approach to the house’s iconic prints. Faces from Greek statues discovered in Pompeii were blown up on breezy silk polos and fun camp shirts, and gilded pottery patterns looked pretty sensational on the loose black shirts and pants that closed the show.
Several models had Versace vases tucked under their arms bearing the same medusa symbol as the small invitation plates. Why? “This is a Versace world! We have a home collection, we have lots of different things,” Donatella Versace shrugged.
Still, one of the most Instagram-worthy baubles in the collection was a bedazzled Big Gulp cup with a straw, dangled from the waist in lieu of a water bottle.
Mobbed by photographers on his way into the show, Vanderloo said he tried to keep his son out of the modeling business, and didn’t given him any pointers on walking the runway. “The only way to learn is to do it yourself — stand up, or trip, trip! If you don’t trip, you don’t know how to do it.”
For the record, Mark Vanderloo Jr. was firm on his feet, as was Donatella Versace, who took her bow as waiters ferried trays of margaritas and the show instantly morphed into a party.