donatella versace goes full emoji for fall/winter 15
Donatella Versace showed a collection steeped in digital culture for fall/winter 15.
Madonna didn't come to the Versace show. But rumors of her attendance brought a slew of paparazzi to the venue, who amused themselves outside by shouting unpleasantries at guests leaving the show. Their comments were aimed, as such comments are, at editors' looks - our clothes, our hairstyles, our bodies - and while the fashion set is used to a fair amount of getting stared and pointed at, this felt entirely out of line. It cut like a knife and crossed a line of cruelty, but more than anything, it created a striking contrast to what had gone on inside the Versace venue where Donatella was looking forward to a global, digital world of self-expression, empowerment, and tolerance.
"I wanna define today and tomorrow," the doyenne of Italian fashion said backstage, herself the frequent target of public abuse aimed at her looks. She designed a collection about the Internet, for the Internet, christened with the digital tag #greek and covered in logo. "No memories," Donatella said. "I wanna stop looking at the archive. I don't want to think about the archive anymore. So I created this new stitching, which is also in the prints and all over the bags, which is a Greek emoji: a Versace emoji." It was a digital symbol of the unapologetic swag of Versace, a fabulous look meant to enrich you and your surroundings, and add a little glitter to the world.
The Internet is a powerful tool, which has unfortunately bred as much evil as it has good. While Instagram users are creating invaluable inspiration boards for future generations, trolls are hard at work putting down celebrities and whomever else they can trash on social channels and in the comments sections of news and gossip sites.
It's because of the Internet's ruthless opinion culture that people outside a Versace show feel like they can shout horrible things at unsuspecting strangers, who are simply there to do their jobs. The wonders of the Internet are meant to empower you, but the cutting tone used in the digital sphere also forces us all to clad ourselves in armor, both emotionally and physically. For Versace, it was expressed in the strict tailoring of the first exits, a rigidness that filtered through to the rest of the collection - not least in the sharp edges of the maison's Greek key pattern featured in bright colors on dresses.
It made for an—in this case female—power display. "It's us," Donatella said, talking about the kind of power she was channeling. "Women are powerful today. We cover so many powerful places in the world, and so many ideas. Not only fashion, but politics. We're empowered. I feel empowered." Her collection was as brave and optimistic as the designer herself, who serves as the biggest inspiration for powering through public resistance, on whatever level it may be. People say you should rise above verbal harassment, but if the opinion culture of the internet has taught us anything, isn't it that we should voice our intolerance for abuse and fight back? Versace would.
Text Anders Christian Madsen
Photography Mitchell Sams