Donatella Versace is no stranger to reinvention. During her creative reign at the head of Versace, the iconic designer has transformed the boisterous Italian brand into a beacon of sophistication, sexiness and glamour, while staying loyal to the house's vibrant legacy. Long before she took the main helm however, Versace was responsible for the house's diffusion line, Versus, which was first launched in New York City, 1989 and embodied the rebellious, fearless energy of the designer herself.
It is the Versus brand that people are buzzing about this week - the line, which will now carry a strong digital presence and be made instantly available online, has been newly relaunched with the British maverick designer JW Anderson steering the creative wheel. A keen supporter of young design talent, Versace, who previously picked Christopher Kane to produce several collections for Versus, gravitated towards the 29 year-old Anderson for his provocative, gender-neutral approach to fashion.
'[JW Anderson] is unafraid to question everything, challenging conventions to create something completely new,' commented Versace. To wit, Anderson's debut collection for Versus daringly comments on sexuality, with women trotting out in cropped asymmetric tops and slashed, thigh skimming skirts, and men dressed in bandeau tops and one-shouldered vests, all emblazoned with the gold buttons and safety pins that have come to signify the Versace look.
In an ode to its regenerated spirit, the new Versus collection was revealed at New York's gigantic Lexington Armoury last night with a fashion show/warehouse party all-in-one. Eschewing all conventions, Donatella Versace and Anderson could be seen preparing models backstage, visible to guests via one-way mirrors. Interspersed between musical performances by Grimes, Angel Haze and Dead Sara, the interactive event outdid itself with an anarchic, punked out vibe and guests colourfully dressed in similar garb to boot.