“This is for all the women who take chances,” the voice said. This spring/summer 2017 Versace collection is all about empowering women with unique styles and clothing choices that are definitely feminine and definitely powerful and full of color. Backing up that premise, Donatella chose some her favorite models to lead the charge: Naomi Campbell, Carmen Kass, Marica Carla, and Doutzen Kroes. Fierce is probably an appropriate description.
The silhouettes are very much the close-fitting, body-loving looks that one expects from Donatella. There’s also plenty of long blond hair gracing this runway. What’s different this time is her use of color blocking in non-traditional patterns and utilizing strips of contrasting fabric to create a sense of depth in the looks. So, there’s a quilted jacket that still managed to catch air and flow in the breeze like a cape. We see dresses in athletic material with drawstrings that change the angle of the hem. Buttons curve up one side while contrasting colored stitching gently swoops in another. While there is plenty of leather, she uses color blocking there, too, to achieve the same active, powerful inferences she does with the other designs.
Graphic prints are a big part of this collection as well. We’re accustomed to seeing more solid colors from Versace and prints that are more like decorations, often with the house emblem involved. This season, though, Donatella really steps out there with wild prints full of checks and swirls and abstract designs that feel very much as though someone tossed all the colors into a bucket and stirred.
Of course, there are plenty of house regulars in attendance: bare shoulders, slits showing plenty of leg, and crop tops that show off those well-toned abs. Almost everything involves some kind of curve, pulled to one side or stretched to another. Donatella knows how to work with the curves of a woman’s body, accentuating the positive without any sense of being stereotypical or pandering. These are clothes for women of confidence, women who know what they want and don’t mind taking it.
Versace is sometimes accused of putting too great an emphasis on being sexy. Certainly, there is a strong sensual aspect to this collection. At the same time, however, these are not clothes that merely glitter and look good. These are designs meant for women who get down to business, who lead busy lives, women who take the lead and expect others to follow. We see much more empowerment in this collection than we have in the past.
Donatella Versace is a female designer who takes seriously the expressions and communications inherent to women’s clothes. We’ve seen her moving toward a more powerful statement over the past few seasons, but with this collection, her statement is stronger than ever. “Take the leap: if we do nothing, we get nothing,” is her mantra. Be your own superhero.