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Just in from Milan: Versace

By Rebecca Lowthorpe

‘I started thinking, what would we call the new punk today? This collection is my answer. It is sexy, strong, brave and full of energy. It is the essence of Versace, heading straight into the future,’ wrote Donatella Versace in her press release, received hours before the show.

She wittily titled her collection ‘Vunk’ and said this would be a new punk, ‘as if the spirit of punk was born today’ with ‘no reference to the past’ and that Versace was fearlessly looking forward to a new glamour and a new rock ‘n’ roll.

Well, Donatella Versace, were you ‘Vunk’ enough? The answer, judging by the coos and cheers and all the backstage hullabaloo, was a resounding yes.

In this, her slickest, most confident and comfortable collection in some time – in that this is Versace’s comfort zone, not that vinyl and silver spikes or nails as fastenings is in any way comfortable to wear – Donatella served up a huge hit. Of course the references channelled past punk – bondage straps, lacquered vinyl, tartan, studded leather, silver chains, aggressive red, searing yellow – but it was the execution that felt fresh, pristinely new, bang on-trend and ultimately right for the house. When Donatella said she wasn’t going to reference the past, she was probably referring to Gianni Versace’s punk collection, immortalised by Elizabeth Hurley in that safety pin dress. None of those here. And in that sense, she did indeed look fearlessly forward.

But say you’re a Versace customer and you’re not a slave to fashion; you don’t want to channel your inner punk, even a modern Versace ‘Vunk’; what was there for you? A killer coat in ice-white or pitch-black, cut oversized on the shoulder and ending bang on the studded stiletto boot. A slinky black dress fastened with a single silver bolt. A red leather biker suit whose trousers zips only serve to emphasise your perfect butt. A long, sinuous V-neck dress with bands of chunky crystal that accentuate your tiny rib cage. Or maybe just the thigh-high studded leather boots with a Versace Medusa medallion on the foot?

As for the young, avid, trend-aware fashion consumer, get yourself down to Versace for those leopard prints (developed for Versace by American artists The Haas Brothers) seen on oversized great coats and micro skirts. Or why not just buy the t-shirt – ‘WILD’, they read – and customise your own bondage straps if the Versace crystal versions are out of your price range. Backstage, the tiny ice-blonde, dressed in quilted and studded leather biker jacket and vinyl jeans with peep-toe studded stilettos, reiterated her main message when asked ‘Why Vunk’?

‘I was thinking of when fashion and music came together, how they created that perfect moment in time.’

Come on all you ‘Vunks’, make her day.

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