As the awesome all-Prodigy soundtrack and the sometimes spiked and dyed hair on the models indicated, this show was part tribute to that band’s front man Keith Flint, who died in March. Before this evening’s show, Versace said: “I dedicate this collection to my old friend. He was disruption… and he performed right here the last time he was in Milan.” That was in 2004, when Flint told journalists, “Milan smells of sex and death. I like to bring the ugly to the beauty.” Not satisfied—at least in that second sentence—with sounding just like Miuccia Prada, he then proceeded to give a pre-show performance in which he simulated oral sex on one un-delighted audience member before licking the face of another.
These are more sober times—call it the Hadid age—at the House of Versace, but while there may be less simulated sex on the runway, the upside is that there are arguably more really good clothes. The centerpiece of tonight’s Via Gesu show was a blackened sports car heaped with flowers made by ongoing Versace collaborator Andy Dixon—it was a little hearse meets roadside shrine, and unsettling. This was a nod to the sports car prints, knits, and Lurex, and stud-defined shirting and pants that featured at the back end of the collection.
Versace went so big on cars because, she said, “when a man becomes a man the first thing he wants is a car.” This also seemed a quiet aside to the memory of when her brother Gianni, then aged 19, convinced Donatella, then aged 11, to dye her hair blonde for the first time (which it has forever remained) before sneaking off to a Patty Pravo concert in a car stolen from their parents—which broke down and was lost forever en route. This potential for willfully wild acts amidst boys just stepping into their manhood was reflected in the oversized suiting and fringed biker jackets—sometimes worn over suiting—that featured at the start of the show. The volumized silhouette ran through to a series of lip-smackingly tart acid tone Versace print jackets and silk shorts towards the end of it.