It’s the Versace acquisition in Los Angeles as Italian House debuts Donatella Versace’s latest Fall/Winter 2023 creative vision.
Taking to West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center, Versace created a rich cream and gold universe on the building’s rooftop, taking full advantage of the hilltop skyline that served as the backdrop for the celebrity performance and afterparty. Along with Miley Cyrus, Lil Nas X, Cher, Sir Elton John, Christine Quinn, Paris Hilton, Pamela Anderson, Demi Moore, Lily James, Lucien Laviscount, Anne Hathaway and countless other celebrities starring at FROW, Versace is a nod to Hollywood glamor it was clear: it was going to be a monumental performance.
It was indeed so, because stars such as Gigi Hadid, Naomi Campbell, Kendall Jenner, Emily Ratajkowski and Mariacarla Boscono showed the world how it’s done on the catwalk. Gigi’s number – a see-through dress consisting of a corset, a low-cut skirt with a belt and sleeves – is just one of the model’s looks that also opened the show in a look that exudes 80s power. Think Gianni Versace’s helmet, razor-sharp shoulders, a pencil skirt, pumps and Medusa buttons and a crocodile-embossed bag that holds all the secrets of feminine style. She– eh.
These jumpsuits expanded in the first installment as both menswear and womenswear styles explored the elements of layering, dressing and undressing. Double-breasted blazers were teamed with matching leather gloves for something sexy, while other blazers cut at the waist and accentuated the hips for a dominant silhouette when paired with the same gloves and riding boots.
But as the series progressed, Versace explored the Hollywood lifestyle. Off-duty jeans with center seams were paired with faux fur jackets, while pink Pepto Bismol was used for another chic business woman ensemble consisting of a Barbie jacket, pencil skirt and pink satin bag.
Men’s clothing was equally influential and sometimes intelligently subtle. For example, formal black pants and a black tank top don’t scream sex appeal, but the addition of leather buckled gloves, ’90s sunglasses, a large buckle belt and belt loop made the styling something that challenged workwear credentials, which with in turn makes it hot.
Kinky references popped up everywhere, with leather straps buttoned tight adorning the upper chest of long denim coats, or again on a white shirt that looked more like a harness. Leather then developed into a separate department, dominating the runway show, with styles centered around mottled double leather ensembles, while others were given a glossy faux crocodile finish in black and caramel tones.
At the end of the show, Donatella Versace introduced the legendary nightlife of Los Angeles as the main theme. With this in mind, the menswear range included beaded crystal tank tops, tuxedos dripping with large gemstones, floral embroidery coats, and skin-tight silk numbers shimmering with sequins.
All in all, the Versace FW23 was a show of excess, done to perfection. To find out more about the show and the collection, Hypebeast spoke to Donatella Versace, the visionary behind this Hollywood masterpiece:
Hypebeast: It’s been 25 years since the last Versace show in Los Angeles. How does it feel to be back?
Donatella Versace: The last time we showed up in LA was for the “Fire and Ice” charity – in 1998.
I am very excited to come back here. I love the energy and power of Los Angeles and to be here two days before the Oscars is epic and amazing. This is a global moment – the world is watching. This is our Oscars moment to show the world our best work.
For those unaware, what is the significance of Versace in Los Angeles?
We have been cooperating with great film actors for a long time, as well as with the biggest music stars. Gianni and I have always loved being surrounded by these amazing people we truly admired, and it was a great honor to dress them. I feel that the dress makes the star and the star makes the dress – when we dress a star, a bit of stardust rubs against us.
But I want people to feel that way every day when they wear our clothes.
Even when you put on a simple black jacket to work in the morning – you want to feel stronger. Like a star on the red carpet.
You said earlier that “Hollywood is both a place and a state of mind.” What do you mean?
For me, it’s an attitude – associated with power, creativity and self-confidence – sometimes with a bit of uncertainty. As we all have. Just like in clothes, when you wear something to show something about yourself – actors play the role of someone else. It’s a state of mind where you can be anyone and show everything about yourself – but for me, the best performances and the best clothes are the ones that are the most authentic. The truer you are to yourself, the better. Not always easy, but worth the effort.
What story is Versace telling for fall/winter 2023?
It’s about our DNA – exquisite, luxurious tailoring – thoughtful details and beautiful wearing of clothes. We started this development at Atelier – looking at the details of fashion but matching them with Ready to Wear – it’s a completely different approach. We take everything we’ve learned dressing some of the world’s most famous people and put those details into a jacket or gorgeous dress for Ready to Wear. We say that streetwear is a thing of the past and that it’s time for us to invest in beautiful clothes that will serve you forever.
How does LA help tell this story?
Well, it makes you taller and think harder – at least for me. This is an amazing city that we decided to show on the roof of the Pacific Design Center overlooking the whole of LA – at sunset – the scenery is golden and cream – and reflects the light of the setting sun. It’s truly epic and cinematic – where else can you get that if not in Los Angeles?
Do you think showing off schedule in a private setting is a way to capture the spirit of the biggest fashion houses?
For me, fashion happens 365 days a year – Milan is amazing for us as our home and of course we love to show up on schedule. But every now and then it’s nice to be away from home and have some adventures. Of course, from a logistical point of view, it takes a long time to bring the whole team to Los Angeles, so we balance our journey and take care of the production as much as we can. To be as carbon neutral as possible.
And by showing in LA, how do you continue to change and shape the contemporary spirit of the House?
It feels like a new chapter in the history of Versace – the beginning of something incredibly exciting, and at the same time very famous for our home code, celebrated in the collection. Change is great and I look forward to the future – especially when it is completely rooted in our heritage, our craftsmanship and our understanding of true luxury.
The Versace FW23 can be seen in the gallery and video above.