Versace’s Fall 2016 ready-to-wear collection was presented right around the time of the Moschino MFW runway show featured in last month’s AEQAI. While both brands have a penchant for drama, the collections couldn’t have been more different. Enough so that it deserves a second trip back to Milan during this runway off-season.

The fashion world mourned the death of Gianni Versace in 1997 and, at the time,  many thought that his death would also mean the end of the House of Versace. Rightly so, given that Gianni was such an iconic figure who revolutionized the fashion industry, not to mention ushering in the era of the supermodel.

But the Versace brand lived on and is now a staple of luxury fashion. It’s actually one of a select few brands that has kept the memory of its creator alive and well in the brand’s DNA.  You could spot a Gianni Versace creation a mile away;  the same goes for a Donatella. It’s the way of Versace.

Fast-forward to Milan, February, 2016 where the famed Italian fashion brand is showcasing its collection for the new fall/winter season. The collection itself was quite tame by Versace standards. And that was the point.

Donatella Versace chose to focus her attention on daywear pieces that the modern Versace woman could wear comfortably to work and play in the cold weather months. Well-tailored coats and suits in shades of navy and strapped with leather began the show. Longsleeved silhouettes in navy and sky blue, coral pink, and yellow punched up the middle of the collection. When the colors were combined in a Pollock-esque print, it gave a whole new meaning to the term business attire.

And then came the power suit. The boss lady staple was marked with what can only be described as a squiggly line that looked like a crack in the lava rock. It gave those pieces dimension especially when Donatella chose to color block within the same suit.

An interesting juxtaposition came in the last portion of the collection with a mix of long fur coats, leather trenches, and some NSFW dresses. It all culminated in a simple (to the eye) black suit:  The definition of power.

The collection introduced a new type of “sexy” for Versace. Now don’t get us wrong, there was plenty of Versace “sexy” in the showing, but it was mostly a different kind of sexy.

For most of the collection, the “sexy” was found in strength, in the empowerment of the women wearing Versace. Much like the revolution currently happening at Gucci, the designer was making a statement. Women can be all things at once: strong and sexy, confident and sweet. We don’t have to choose.

Using her platform as an instrument of change, Donatella said, “Fashion not that important that it can change the world. But it can change the empowerment of the woman, in order to make her feel strong and believe more in herself.” We disagree with fashion not changing the world, but agree with her sentiment on empowerment.

The more brands that embrace this idea, the better. We especially like the Versace spin on it as well, giving equal importance to strength and the revolutionary power of women.

According to Versace, strength is the new sexy.

–Jennifer Perusek

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