Versace Spring/Summer 2016 Menswear
“I love drama,” Donatella Versace announced backstage. “You know I’m a drama queen.” So, with silk scarves billowing, sand underfoot, and a suitably dramatic quote from Lawrence of Arabia projected on the back wall (“No Man Needs Nothing”), the Versace show space on Via Gesù was turned into a vast and luxurious Bedouin tent. Against this backdrop, the clothes that paraded past were the familiar repertoire—blousons, leathers, firm-shouldered tailoring—cannily given an exotic twist to fit the theme. And that twist turned up on tops elongated to at least mid-thigh, more often to the knee. Even a button-down shirt was kurta-length, worn under a softly tailored suit. The proportion play emphasized the collection’s sensual fluidity, especially when it was expressed in sinuous tie-dyed knits, which looked sun-bleached. Sand, spice, the purple of sunset, and the navy of night also riffed on a desert color palette.
The longer layering didn’t always work and the styling ran away with an outfit or two (one head-scarfed honey was all about the Axl Roses), but the air of elegant menace that Versace veteran Scott Barnhill projected in his suit and loooong shirt emphasized the formal potential of the combination. If no man needs nothing, then every man needs something and, from this collection, Barnhill’s look was it.