When H&M announced earlier this year that Versace would be its next collaborative brand, the bloggers, the pundits, the fans – everyone took to the net in a giddy frenzy that refused to fizzle out and came to a major head last night at the fete to end all fetes at NYC’s Pier 57. Well, not Pier 57, but ‘Versace Hall’ as it was not just dubbed, but entirely transformed, for the star-studded occasion.
At least for one night Hollywood was left a hollow shell with the hordes of celebrities that came decked out in Versace for H&M (Even the Hollywood elite was not above wearing the affordable, yet scintillant line on the red carpet). Notable looks, for better or worse, included Alan Cumming, who looked surprisingly chic, and not at all crazy, in his black and white fragmented print get-up, while music producer Mark Ronson, looked certifiably insane in his monochromatic Pepto-pink suit, matching oxfords and all. On the other hand, that same pink looked heavenly on Selma Blair’s eyelet gold-studded mini, while Chloe Moretz managed to juggle innocence and sex-appeal with precocious aplomb in her embellished honeysuckle shift with the signature Versace Greek key paneled on the sides. Naturally, the fashion sector was also in attendance. Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang, Anna Sui, Joseph Altuzarra, as well as Donnatela Versace’s rising-star Versus collaborator, UK-based designer Christopher Kane, were all there to support and to party (none decked in Versace).
When the smoky-eyed bandana’d models finally hit the gilded catwalk, the look was a leather-clad Axl Rose. The array was highly referential, especially of the treasured Versace archives. A palm-print, which was heavily featured in the menswear offerings and gorgeously imbued in a studded shift with a zippered front, looked very reminiscent of Givenchy’s spring 2012 menswear collection, but in truth, it spoke more directly of Gianni’s favorite leitmotifs. Striking how that connection only begins to surface now. A halter dress, frontispieces with a sunset horizon looked akin to one of Mary Katrantzou’s recent wonders, but ultimately went down the catwalk stamped in the sexy feel that only the house of Versace can muster. It was the kind of collection that required a keen editorial eye, one that can pick the treasured separates when they came all mashed up into one look. Those looks that came with matching printed tights were a tad overwrought, but one can see those fun tights working wonders with a second-skin solid black number. The big gold buttoned dresses from last spring made a return here, as did last fall’s dazzling bisected fringe dresses – those came with a sentimental, girly heart print that specifically worked only because H&M was in the mix. The boys also looked stellar, although those hats, this time certainly, did feel queasily like the aforementioned Givenchy menswear collection that debuted this summer. The run ended with Versace’s classic silver and gold chain-mail dresses, whose return to the Versace ateliers has been long overdue.
The party transitioned to an incredible one-two punch of Nicki Minaj, closing with the inimitable Prince. It wasn’t until the end of his set, a little before quarter past midnight, that the racks of clothes became accessible for the attendees and the night’s collective third wind ensued. Not that anyone was complaining. After all, by many’s standards, it was the party of the year.