Versus Versace S/S 2017
Versus Versace Spring/Summer 2017. Photo credit: Marcus Tondo

Did someone summon rocker Pat Benatar? Did the 80s just decide to make a return appearance?

That’s rather what it felt like as we watched this evening’s Versus collection, the first without Anthony Vaccarello who was named creative director for Yves Saint Laurent back in April. It was back to basic bad-boy/girl black leather looks with belts across the chest, various takes on biker jackets, leather boots with lots of buckles, and quite possibly a VR headset in the fourth look (I’m not really sure). This is a relapse into a sinful amount of leather backed up with an attitude that comes looking for a fight.

When not donned in leather, we’re seeing puke green and royal blue parachute material that might have looked cool 30 years ago but is almost certainly one of those looks we should have left sitting in late-night Netflix movies that no one admits watching. The sunglasses alone are enough reason to run the other direction.

Was Donatella really watching when they put this collection together?

Yellow, sun-bright yellow, head-to-toe, comes up about midway through the collection. I don’t even want to know what they had to do to get leather this shade. Wear these looks exactly as they’re styled here and you’re likely to get a ticket for obstructing traffic, it’s just that bright.

Things calm down a bit when the line turns to knits. These pieces are a little more cool, even if the silhouettes are still dated. When they finally get to torn denim with jeans and jackets that match, one might start to feel a bit nostalgic, maybe. I suppose it depends on whether one views the 80s as a good time or a bad time.

Finally, there’s this silver lame dress that, so help me, made me do a double take to make sure Pat Benatar wasn’t walking the runway. THAT would have been cool on a totally different level.

But no, this collection isn’t quite that cool. It’s more almost-cool; passenger seat cool. I checked all the way back to 2000 and there’s not another Versus collection in the catalog that looks backward like this one does. We’ll give Donatella this season, though. She’s busy enough trying to keep the brand afloat. One can hardly blame her for phoning this one in and having assistants requisition looks from a decade most of them can’t remember. For most Millennials, this is all new; it’s only us old fogies who’ve seen all this before and were happy to leave it behind.

So, we’ll let the young ones be excited about the looks and the rest of us will wait for next season. Maybe Donatella will find another young designer to raise. She certainly did a grat job with Vaccarello. That’s wouldn’t be bad at all.

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