1. Suzy Menkes
  2. Suzy Menkes

Suzy Menkes

Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.

#SuzyMFW Versace's Ode To Strong Women

Donatella's shop-ready collection celebrated the power of the female future

27 Сентября 2016

Donatella Versace has a big thing going on about women. Strong women. Women who take strides down a blue and purple carpet glittering with strobe lighting to lyrics celebrating women on a mission.

These giant steps for Donatella's high heeled glamour pusses have been seen before — ever since last year when the designer took her army of models into the vast former FieraMilano — a fashion fair venue back in the 1980's.

The building has become Versace central, where Gigi Hadid can strut out in a parachute silk coat and a dress cut away here and there with jewels in every crevice. Then there was Naomi Campbell, in a red and navy uniform that seemed to offer a sporting chance of breaking open at the midriff and where a leg strode through a silken skirt.

The indefatigable model stomped out in her scarlet laced boots, still up there with the rest of the models, although she first walked for Donatella in 1998, nearly 20 year's ago.

Then there was the music from Violet + Photonz, celebrating "the strength of women and the power of the female future". The lyrics went on to say "the show, this show is of women taking chances" and "take the leap, if we do nothing, we get nothing".

Backstage, Donatella herself was not lost for words — as also later on in the evening when she sat at dinner between Serena Williams and Naomi Campbell in a power trio.

"We have to go faster from the present to the future," Donatella said. "I was thinking how many important women mark history. You don't recognise it so much, but it's true. That is why we have to have the next president as a woman."

Whether Donatella was routing for Hillary Clinton as US President or just talking about power women in a general way, she sent out a powerful show: colourful, energetic, at its most beautiful when Gigi Hadid or her sister Bella walked the runway, but striking throughout.

Versace shows have traditionally made a strong statement, but this one seemed retail-ready. For all the red/yellow/blue colours immersed in a graphic digital pattern, there was another easy-to-wear black dress or a sportier version as a rounded jumpsuit.

Back to the 1980's? Yes, but appealing for a sporty, sexy woman who was not even born when Gianni Versace, the brand's founder, was the main man.

The new fabrics that made a difference were ultra-light, billowy nylon, giving the effect of silk and technical jersey sculpting the body shape. Checkerboard patterns, bonded waterproofs like traditional macintoshes and lace trims all seemed fresh.

That said, these clothes were not as groundbreaking as Versace has been — for example with the introduction of metal mesh that seems to be having a mild revival.

And in this digital world, fast fashion folk are probably already copying the simpler pieces like a skinny red dress, cut in here and there to mix in strips of black.

But copying is the best proof that the style is right. And this was a genuine, balanced collection with its sexy-sleek mini dresses in colours like purple and grass green while a body-wrap trouser jacket and pants suggested work, rather than play.

Power women? Not everyone — even Hillary — may reach those heights. But at least Versace offered a power wardrobe.

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