“Anything goes” – Versace’s FW19 Men’s Collection
Last night I was very perplexed when I saw Versace’s FW19 collection. Right after it ended I went straight to the brand’s Instagram curious to find out any explanation about what the meaning of what I had just seen was. It read on the caption the following: “The #VersaceFW19 men’s collection reflects on the modern concept of man and on an idea of masculinity that pushes the boundaries and breaks the rules of menswear by challenging notions and stereotypes.” Honestly, I thought the idea of the collection was good, so then I re-watched the entire fashion show just to end up more confused on trying to get Donatella’s (or whoever came up with this) point of view. The final thought that I got after watching everything was: “so, anything goes.”
We might all be familiar of Versace being famous for its iconic pop art from the beginning and its very precise tailoring during the Gianni Versace’s years. After Gianni died and Donatella took over, the brand took an eclectic turn according to her personality, and we’ve seen it evolve into what it is now, and in corporate terms get acquired by Michael Kors on September of 2018. Today I want to focus on the aesthetics of Versace, and generally stress on the point that fashion is always a reflection of what is going on in our society. After seeing the Versace show, it was impossible not to talk about this instantly since all I could get from the collection was more of the same, and that is precisely what it has been going on with our society.
As I read on an article once, we are living in an era of post-modernism, and this new era has the main characteristic of truly paying attention to the individual. It has become crucial for us to figure out who we are and what we want to mean to the world, and it has become a habit to pay less attention to what we actually do for our world and what we mean by it. Sure, in the fashion world we’ve seen some very wise and caring moves like luxury brands and other mass-market brands in general pay more attention to sustainability, and it was wonderful to see transparency become a hot topic on 2018. But on the other hand though, the idea of fashion (and also luxury, which is another topic I’ll talk about soon) became more blurry to all of us, since it has become more important to just “express our individuality” and stop caring about the rest. Fashion is going through a crisis of meaning where it is being confused by style, which is “the way we put clothes together according to our personality or identity”. Nowadays, fashion has become something that represents everything, failing to lately represent what really matters, as we’ve seen in Versace last night.
When Versace mentioned that it was going challenge notions and stereotypes, I wasn’t expecting to see more of the same. It seemed that the only thing that represented a “challenging of stereotypes for men” were some male models wearing blazers with feathers coming out from them like it was some kind of joke. Moreover, I thought that the trompe l'œil harnesses could actually mean something, but then again, the actual meaning of trompe l'œil is “deceive the eye” and this couldn’t be captured with so many noticeable things going on, so the only good idea portrayed in the collection lost its meaning thanks to poor styling. As always, there was a huge amount of effort on sending out more streetwear down the runway, as well as some attempts of following the punk and grunge trend that have been making a comeback, following by more of the classic Versace obsession of logo-mania. What strikes me the most, is that I’ll be seeing most of these pieces being styled in all of respectable magazines such as Vogue in an attempt to reflect what “fashion” looks like.
So, what does fashion really look like now, on 2019? I’d like to say that fashion is no longer something that follows a specific aesthetic. Nowadays, everything can be considered fashion. Wearing streetwear clothes by Supreme is fashion, Adidas is fashion, dressing up like a logo-character Fendi-Versace-Dior-Gucci (whatever, you name it) from head to toe is fashion, and of course, whatever famous influencers wear on Instagram is fashion too. I’m not saying that this is a negative thing happening in this industry, but we’re becoming a society where we are no longer in need of labels, instructions or definitions. Anything goes in fashion, and this is an invite for everyone to find out the true meaning of it.