Monday, June 27, 2011

Man Whispers: Versace Menswear Spring Summer 2012 Milan Fashion Week

Where D&G seemingly referenced the sartorial signatures of the flamboyant late, great Gianni Versace, leave it to his star sibling to outdo the Dolce duo's homage with a collection marking a full-blown return to the roots of all things Versace. Donatella, on the eve of the announcement of her archival-inspired collaboration with high street titan H&M, also gave the boys a reason to look back towards the iconic styles pioneered by her brother, embracing menswear in all its potentially camp glory and reminding us that boys too, just want to have fun.

The Versace man for Spring Summer 2012 is, as he was back in 1992, the ultimate male pinup, appealing in his testosterone unbridled to both women and other men alike, regardless of which team he himself may play for. The Versace SS2012 man is not a brooding, well coiffed and slightly malnourished teenager/Twilight extra, like many an image of male fashion put forward by designers today, but instead, he sees himself as something of a god, a perfectly tanned Adonis in business and in pleasure, who imbues sex and power in all that he does, be it racing down South Beach's Washington Avenue in his Ferrari convertible or lounging pool-side with a cool cocktail in his hand.

It began simply enough, with the muscle-bound Versace men (no boys, here, just men, the models allegedly were having a push-up contest backstage...) taking to the catwalk in an array of sharply cut daytime suits. The opening model donning a double breasted jacket and trouser in a light grey Prince of Wales check was followed by another in a solid rendition of the same, this toting a small white leather suitcase and wearing a flamingo pink shirt conjuring to mind Miami Vice.

But, as it's wont to in Miami, business quickly gave way to pleasure as Donatella embraced a bright Florida-inspired color palette (bright azures, sunny yellows, flamingo pinks) with the matching prints teamed together for a very in-your-face effect. In this collection, there was no such thing as too much, and the men squeezed themselves into muscle-bound shiny leather tank tops, plungefront tees and donned cardigans with nothing worn underneath, skinny trousers, sporty 80's-style sunglasses and utilitarian gladiator sandals. The only thing they were missing were a hunk of gold chains looped round their necks. But this is fashion, after all and not costume, and the distinct lack of bling made kept the clothes from venturing too far down the fancy dress road.

Following on the prints were a selection of tough-edged yet quirky leather pieces with just a hint of fetish. Biker jackets and slim-fitting trousers covered in studs and buckles, evoking a sort of modern-day-matador vibe. There was even an entire suit cut from a supple chocolate brown leather, overindulgence at its most Versace.


More so than any other collection I saw last week (save DSquared...), Donatella embraced a sense of the erotic, not least when a handful of models emerged wearing nothing but the tiniest of swimtrunks underneath terry-cloth robes casually slung open. Rather than striving to create a commercially accessible collection, Donatella looked towards celebrating a kind of male sexuality through fashion.

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