Last Tuesday, stars attended a gala at New York’s historic Pier 57. The star-studded show revealed H&M’s collaboration with Donatella Versace.
The event attracted a whole host of prestigious guests, including Jennifer Hudson, Alan Cumming, Selma Blair, Uma Thurman, Zachary Quinto, Chase Crawford, and Jessica Alba, who came to watch models Adam Ant their way down the runway in tropical patterns, splashy jagged lines and new wave make-up. Nicki Minaj and Prince turned in big performances, which were fitting, giving the enormity of the Versace set. The show ended up being one of H&M biggest events to date.
Nicki Minaj and Ke$ha at Pier 57
The collaboration is the brainchild of Versace and H&M creative director Margareta van den Bosch, in an attempt to create an affordable collection with a top tier designer name. In that sense, they may have succeeded, with the most expensive article in the collection clocking in at only $299.
But what about the clothes themselves?
The women’s wear ranged from clean lines and colours to bright prints and macaw patterns, complete with art deco make-up work on the models.
But while the girls’ clothes suggested a lost period in fashion, specifically new romanticism, the same philosophy in the men’s designs came up with a pretty striking finished product.
While the loud patterns and designs seem risky, it isn’t as much as a gamble as you’d think — textures are making a pretty big comeback in outwear this season, as we’ll be examining this week and next.
The splashy patterns, set off by slender, attractive belts, are less new wave and more fashion forward. The key here is the texture work, which suggests a completeness that the women’s line lacks.
It’s a testament to Versace’s designer chops that many of these designs walk the new romantic line, but are less cyberpunk-wannabe and more something that actually feels pretty current.
The black-and-white tropical pattern with belt and jacket was modeled by one of the coolest people in the world, Alan Cumming. Hard to beat that kind of endorsement.
But that completeness doesn’t extend to the less texture-focused clothes in the line.
There are very few contexts in which this sky blue long-sleeved/short ensemble will work, even with the metallic thin tie and belt.
On the runway it seems right at home, but I’m not sure if the hipster baseball look will be sweeping the world any time soon. In a way, this outfit falls in the exact kind of bullshit futurism trap that the others avoid. Nice shirt, though.
The single-colour magenta suit, however, is the kind of bold statement that the show needed more of – ludicrous but snazzy. Take a look: it’s the shoes that tie the outfit together — switch those babies out for black leather, and you’d look ridiculous. Put together like this, though, it’s brilliant.
But are these designs glamourous, as Versace wanted? In a backstage interview with AP
, she said, “It was done totally wrong the last time the economy failed, Everyone said, ‘Let’s do safe clothes of a good quality that people will invest in and wear year after year.’ That couldn’t be more wrong. The companies that survived the most were the ones that were recognizable, that stuck to their DNA, and our DNA is glamour.”
While the men’s designs certainly fit with the kind of borderline new romantic/art deco feel that the entire line is rocking, I’m not sure if they say “glamour” to me, the way Versace intended them to be.
They’re glam, for sure, but glamourous?
Meanwhile, celebs had good things to say about the line. Uma Thurman said, “I think it is so exciting for Versace to be made available to everyone. The collection is cool, colourful, young and very hip.”
Nicki Minaj also had high praise for Versace
. “She’s a legend. She’s amazing… I said in an interview recently I remember Biggie Smalls rap about Versace and wanting to know what that was. So I told Donatella today, you don’t understand how many little girls are jumping for joy now that you’re introducing a more affordable line. So I’m just happy to be here.”
As for the fashion culture at large, the general criticism lobbed at the line
was that, while the bright metallic designs and loud patterns would work with expensive fabrics, they’d turn pretty garish when transferred over to H&M’s more affordable materials.
Another criticism, less pertinent, was that Versace’s collab with H&M was more than a little reminiscent of her past designs, a sort of greatest hits line up.
We’ll have to see how the collection does, as it goes on sale on November 17th.
Tell us what you think of the collection in the comments!