Versace unveiled its first mixed-gender collection at Milan Fashion Week

Last season it was Jennifer Lopez storming the catwalk in a jungle print dress cut to the navel, but for autumn/winter 2020 it was menswear that stole the show at Versace.

In a whopping line-up that included 92 looks, half of the models were men in the first time Donatella Versace has combined both her men’s and women’s collections in a single show. 

That’s not to say the clothes were any less va va voom, however.

Both genders wore flamboyant floral prints, slashed suits and carried handbags. The final ultra-glam looks were encrusted in sequins in zebra patterns, while the only difference between a pair of XL tiger print fur coats – one of which was modelled by Kaia Gerber – was that the mens version was slightly longer.

Kaia Gerber modelling in the show (Getty Images)

Glamour for men? In this new era of the male peacock (see Anderson Paak, Timothée Chalamet, Harry Styles), only fools would raise an eyebrow. On the red carpet at January’s Grammy Awards, Lil Nas X topped best dressed lists for his hot pink outfit that included a harness, studded leather jacket and cowboy hat, all designed by Versace. 

The collection was less about gender fluid dressing, and more about bringing masculine and feminine elements to design. While the women’s collection showcased what Donatella Versace called before the show a ‘hyper-feminine’ silhouette that you’d recognise as Versace – hourglass blazers, even ruby shirts with nipped in waists – the men’s collection of suits, trackies, and denim jeans was loosely tailored, giving off more of a streetwear swagger. 

Versace autumn/winter 2020 show (Getty Images)

Combining both genders in a single show is a trend that follows on from London Fashion Week,  where designers who usually present only women’s clothing, including Roland Mouret, Rejina Pyo and Molly Goddard, also added menswear to their line-ups.

As the menswear market continues to grow at a pace, 1.9 per cent in 2021 compared to 1.4 percent for womenswear according to Euromonitor, it makes commercial sense for Versace, which was bought by Michael Kors for $2.1billion in 2018, to add men to its catwalk. 

Perhaps another business decision was the smorgasboard of handbags, which models carried with almost every look, with bags for men introduced for the first time. A key point in the Michael Kors acquisition of the brand was that Versace should increase its revenue share from accessories.

Versace autumn/winter 2020 (Getty Images)

For 2020, these varied from snake-print top handled envelope bags, to large totes with clip-on pouches and round-the-neck leather phone cases, while men carried Versace-print clutches and wore white camera bags across the body. Wellies also made a surprise appearance, styled with miniskirts, and other accessories included the new chunky Versace Trigreca trainers and XL coloured lens sunglasses. 

Kendall Jenner closed the show in classic Versace style wearing a disco-ball silver sequin dress of miniscule proportions. Afterwards, Donatella Versace appeared only virtually, taking a virtual bow on huge video screens, perhaps underlining her future thinking for her brand.


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