28/09/2015

INDEPENDENT WOMEN

I love strong women. Who doesn't? They are the most fascinating history characters and make pretty good action movie roles too. What if the star of Alien were a man? It would have be far less interesting. And if Thelma & Louise were called Robert & Jack? I'd rather not imagine... So, of course, I do love the latest Versace collection presented a few days ago at the Milan Fashion Week. Backstage of her runway show, Donatella Versace told the journalists that her Spring Summer 2016 collection is "a call to all women to stop listening to [their] inner demons and outer detractors, and just get rid of everything which stops [them] from doing what [they] really want". This collection is an ode to strong women, to independent women, to women with balls if I may say so.

Walking to the beat of Transition by Violet and friends, a special anthem created for International Women's Day, the models' pack led by supermodel (and way too rare) Raquel Zimmermann are wearing outfits to fight for their rights, for their equality, for their recognition. I have to admit that, at first sight, I was disturbed by this collection. It was at the same time very Versace (the best girls, the fierce look upon their faces, their wild & determined gait) and far from the usual aesthetics (the body-conscious dresses, the beyond sexy attitude & clothes). It's as if Donatella wanted to talk to more customers, to widen her vision and spread her message further. The first silhouettes are jackets (half military, half safari) firmly belted on the waist in khaki or camel (the prevailing colours of the collection). Here, it is all about clothes to feel comfortable but not in a loose & sloppy way. Women should have a complete freedom of movement into these clothes: for instance, the first look of Natasha Poly is composed of a khaki dress (with stars all around the collar, a tribute to Riccardo Tisci & Givenchy?) and a camel safari jacket almost looking like a man's one, with several pockets, useful to put what you usually put in a bag. Is the safari jacket the new it bag? This kind of utilitarian jackets can be spotted all along the collection in the form of leather jackets or more traditional ones but most of the time in boxy shapes. Donatella Versace has imagined for next Summer a collection full of daywear looks such as the classy pinstripe ones: here a jacket worn as a dress with frills on one side of the waist, there a crop shirt worn with a boxy jacket and a pretty sexy skirt showing almost totally one leg, here again, a man's shirt worn as a dress and feminized with a large and massive belt or with the less formal looks composed of loose pants & sweater or bra tops + jackets in the palette of the collection or printed in a print that is turning into a Versace recurring theme. This collection is all about the encounter of sportswear with tailoring (mini-skirt + crop sweater + crop jacket or a total printed look composed of loose pants + sweater) and a mix of masculinity & femininity. Here, mixing bold animal prints (zebra & leopard prints in pop colours) is creating a viral visual impact and is perfect to empower these women even more and perhaps to reveal their savage beauty! Never forget that the Versace woman is never too sexy, never too bold, never too powerful: this is definitely the Versace signature! So are the last looks, the genuine Versace touch, almost reminding us of JLo's iconic 1999 dress: raw-edged chiffon gowns with cut out details revealing some part (the best parts!) of the body. With these showstopper pieces, that I have to admit are a bit glam rock (the black colour, the shiny and sheer fabrics) and effortlessly glamourous, feminine power is expressed in the best way and Donatella's point is clearly reached.







Pictures by Jason Lloyd-Evans for I-D



Words by Charles Margueritte [with a little help from Yann Sackville-West]




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