Ah London. How I’ve missed trampling up damp smelling staircases to get to concrete bunker rooms where I get sploshed about with beer. It’s back down to earth after my far-and-away otherworldly jaunts to Palm Springs and Cannes but with Donatella Versace leading the proceedings, it was never really going to be yer’ average event.
Last night saw the first Versus collection presented by Anthony Vaccarello, after his appointment as permanent creative director of the line, at a #VersusCalling event in London. When Versus was entrusted to Donatella by brother Gianni in the nineties, she was keen to kick things up a notch with by injecting a young and clubby spirit with party-slash-gig-slash-presentations. The recent reboot phase of Versus has followed in more or less the same line. The event last night was termed a “happening” and with an emphasis now on the e-commerce, this collection is the first to adhere to Donatella’s ‘‘See Now-Buy Now-Wear Now’ concept as most of the pieces are available to buy straight away.
And so we went up those familiar dank stairs of the Old Truman Brewery festooned with #VersaceCalling tape to catch the skyline of London disappearing into darkness. Under shelter from the appropriately drizzly skies, the latest campaign images shot by Collier Schorr and styled by Alastair McKimm were projected onto the walls, with the intermittent playing of a choppy short film by Natalie Canguilhem.
Donatella and Anthony held court over performances by upcoming bands Nothing But Thieves and Zibra (picked out by Donatella’s son apparently) with the likes of Maisie Williams and Jaimie Winstone in the crowd to mosh away with the pair. Well actually, knowing Anthony, he was more of a stoic observer whilst on the other hand, Donatella waved hands like she just didn’t care. In my beer-friendly plaid shirt and kilt and flat Versus “bovver” boots complete with safety pin hardware, I was also happy to be back in my natural habitat.
Hardware ready to pound concrete with new season Versus boots and Versus safety pin bracelet and leather cuff
With my ‘bro’ Adam Chinese Symbol
Whilst the primary reference of this latest collection was the lithe Brett Anderson in his Suede heyday, Vaccarello’s treatment of his own Versus references – primarily the campaign imagery shot by Bruce Weber in the nineties – have continued to yield pieces that resurrect that yesteryear Versus spirit. For this see-it-buy-it-wear-it collection, Stella Tennant flanked by rugged redhead lads in Scottish tartan from a 1995 campaign made its presence be known with asymmetric kilts (for guys and girls), plaid sweaters and perfectly proportioned shirts that can be semi-tucked in and out. The black dresses of Vaccarello’s first outing for Versus also reappear with askant hemlines and Versace lion’s head continues to rear its head in the silver hardware. The “happening” may have been in London but the appeal of Vaccarello’s Versus revival certainly goes far and beyond the big smoke.