The Italian Almanac


Italian Fashion - January 17th

Yesterday evening's show opened a new chapter for Versace menswear. The house is tightening its belt and showing a much more sober side to its character. Gone is the garish gold Medusa head and the Grand Guignol of Gothic biker boys. In its place is a cool, sophisticated man who is far too grown up for 80s fancy dress.

The reason for this revived and refined Versace is threefold. Donatella is obviously newly focused and ably assisted by a new design team and hot young studio chief from Jil Sander. New CEO, Giancarlo Di Risio is trimming the fat and paying the company's debts by selling the Versace villa on Lake Como, liquidating the house art collection and moderating Versace's extravagant entertainment allowance. Finally, Versace is reassessing the role models for the house. Out go the Hip-Hop stars and latter-day Liberaces. In comes Brad Pitt, whom the house dressed for the Tokyo film premiere of Ocean's Twelve.

Versace were deservedly applauded last night for being brave enough to take this new direction. If they hadn't, their signature flash bravado would have been totally out of step with the new sobriety shown on the Milan runways on day one of the collections.

For the first time in many seasons, Versace menswear looks like a sensible proposition for stylish men.