I have seen several versions of Versus — Versace's 'second' line — over the years, from when Gianni Versace offered it up as a plaything to his hip little sister, to its revival as a young brand designed by Christopher Kane.
But it is only now, with designer Anthony Vaccarello beside Donatella, that this sparky label has come into its own — especially since it is offered with twenty-first century speed online via its see-now-buy-now policy.
The Italian-Belgian designer, 33, pulled off a powerful show by defining how he, and perhaps his generation, feel about Versace — and how to differentiate the parent line from Versus.
"Versus has to be fun, not pretentious," said Vaccarello backstage, explaining that he was equally interested in menswear and womenswear, and that his focus was to give this brand an identity: for example mirroring Versace's snake logo with a lion.
The designer concentrated on both genders, making each range of clothes equally plausible. Then he took the sexy side of the women's look, loosening the cut so that leopard-printed chiffon floated around the dark, split dresses.
But for all the well-placed metallic decoration, the surprise was in print: the leafy and flowery patterns on denim sportswear. A hint of palm trees and LA made this a fashion campus in which the wearers had metaphorically left the basement where the show was staged, and strode into the open air.
This was a fine moment for Donatella, who said she had been nervous about the collection. The Versus line seemed to be striding ahead — and in the right direction.