Donatella Versace’s counterblast to American Crime Story on Bloomsday

This latest Versace runway show was notable for the fact that beforehand no one was walking around asking who would be the new designer of Versace. Instead, the most telling element was the collection’s tabloid headline graphics.


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Versace - Spring-Summer2019 - Menswear - Milan - © PixelFormula

 
Discussions on a possible replacement, successor or assistant to Donatella had been the leitmotif of Versace shows for the past year. This snappily staged show was all the better for the lack of such talk. Instead its main message was the way the clothes were splattered with graphics. Tabloid-style covers from a daily known as The Versace, with headlines like Super Exclusive! Or Versace Finally Speaks!
 
Clear references to the TV series American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace. In a statement in January, the house stressed that the Versace family “had neither authorized nor had any involvement in the TV series,” and that it “should be treated as a work of fiction.”
 
Presented under a brilliantly imagined arbor of hanging wisteria on a Perspex catwalk in the courtyard of the house’s historic palazzo on via Gesù. Backed up by a punchy soundtrack, including the driving Inhliziyo by Faka; and a top notch cast, starring a particularly aloof Kendall Jenner – poured eye-bogglingly into a great chain, jewel and tropical floral print mini dress – and Bella Hadid in a miniature ruffled black leather dress.
 
All told, there was nothing terribly wrong with this co-ed collection and indeed it had plenty of hip and attractive fashion. But it did lack any proper drama and real excitement – two qualities one has come to expect from the Medusa house.
 
One could only admire the cool chalk stripe suits in pale gray where the stripe was made up of mini Versaces; or the day-glow pastel suits in neon pink and neon green. However, it was strange to witness a Versace runway collection that reminded one, if anything, of Supreme. That New York streetwear brand has been all over Italian catwalks this year, but one did not expect it in Versace.
 
At the end, Donatella took a dazzling bow. Clearly in charge, looking her audience right in the eye, after more or less closing her back stage for 12 months.
 
How accurate was the TV series on the truly awful death of her brother? Ultimately, it was much more about the dark loser Andrew Cunanan who went on a killing spree across America before tragically shooting Gianni in Miami.
 
Quite frankly, speaking as someone who met, interviewed, dined with and attended parties thrown by Gianni, I found the series visually very accurate. Its sound, on the other hand, felt all wrong. Despite dutiful performances, Hispanic actors – none of whom sounded remotely Italian – played all the key characters of Donatella, Gianni and his partner Antonio D’Amico. Which was telling, seeing as today is June 16, and Bloomsday, the day when the action takes places in Dublin in James Joyce’s Ulysses, the greatest English-language novel of the 20th century. Imagine asking a bunch of Welshmen to play all the Irishman in a TV series of Ulysses. Wouldn’t work would it? Didn't work in the TV series either.

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