Don’t Box Versace In

You don’t come to Versace to wear brown. At least, that’s what its history of bold colors, J.Lo jungle prints, and ’90s black-and-gold power dressing have taught us. The brand is flipping the script for the fall 2021 season, introducing us to a new conversation within the Versace-verse: monogramming. Debuting a new monogram this season, dubbed La Greca, the new collection is aligning itself with heritage brands like Goyard, Louis Vuitton, and others who well surpass Versace’s relatively short existence. (It was founded in 1978, whereas many archival brands were founded on the basis of monogrammed luggage in the 19th century).

The stage was set as a massive La Greca structure, with Versace models placed in boxes like a sartorial “Cell Block Tango.” DonatellaVersace placed a heavy importance on its cast: “Models are like actors, they bring the designs to life, just like when a performer portrays a character,” she said in the show notes. “During the filming of this show I saw how important it is to give the models time to ‘feel’ the clothes they wear on the runway. Despite living in a digital era of immediacy, taking this time is crucial to form a genuine connection.”

But despite a VIP roster featuring both Gigi and Bella Hadid, Precious Lee, Irina Shayk, and more, La Greca is the true star of the virtual presentation. It surfaces as bags. As clothes. As tights. It’s everywhere, furthering the plot point of Versace positioning itself as an atelier with history in the making. The clothes carry the thread with vintage-inspired clothes in the form of ’70s sweater vests, disco collars, and retro tights encasing legs in La Greco’s geometric print. The Versace of yore still remains, with chest-baring tops fit for open heart surgery and a distinct and furtive effort to raise mid-rise awareness, a skirt rise often forgotten.

The introduction of La Greca forges a new path for Versace, but it doesn’t discount its brand DNA of smoldering sex appeal and an unapologetic sense of self. As she noted, “this is what the present and future look like to me.”

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