At Versace, the Medusa head is upstaged by La Greca
Pandemic or not, monograms sells. Logos too. And definitely the east-west tote. Bring them all together and across all clothing and accessory categories, you have Versace doing whatever others are doing. This is a monogram launch with a vengeance. You know what the house is newly offering and that you will be seduced by it, so the latest collection bombards you with everything that can be plastered with the repeated pattern. “The new print,” according to Versace, “is a modern 3D maze that feels like you can step right into it and features the iconic Greca pattern along with the Versace logo in various color combinations.” The three-dimensionality of the design does not play down the fret very much associated with Versace (and is presently used on the side of the mid-soles of their chunky shoes), but it also seems to be on the same aesthetical foundation as Balmain’s Labyrinth, introduced in the ’70s, which Olivier Rousteing, a week later, wore during during a panel discussion with Vanessa Friedman of The New York Times.
It is understandable why Versace needs a monogram. More than ever, a pattern such as La Greca helps sell products as much as a logo, boxed or not. Additionally, identifiable patterns are more effective than unique prints. But not only is the house following the path of others, it is also using the monogram in very recognisable forms, such as the omnipresent east-west tote. Versace’s follow the antecedents set by brands such as Goyard (with the similar Chevron, year first seen unknown), or Moynat (with just as comparable Ms, introduced in 1925), but looks to us more in line with Bonia’s, or the like you’d find on Via Francesco Crispi in Rome. In fact, all the bags now sporting the new monogram seem destined to quickly find bootleg variants in Patpong. To be sure, Versace has never been strong on bags. They don’t have their own Saddle or their own Puzzle.
La Greca does not only appear on the bags, it is fashioned into everything, literally for head to toe, babushka to leggings, and obviously to hawk ostentation as the alternative to fashion, pandemic times or nor. Versace has never been a subtle label. Under the watch of Donatella Versace, even less so, as she courts celebrities, such as hip-hop stars, to wear her meretricious designs. Over the years, Ms Versace has amped up the sexiness associated with the house; her target audience, the nubile. Season after season, it’s variation of the same theme. Although there were times when one sensed that she tried harder, but there are others too, such as the present, when it seems she’s running out of steam, falling back on, for example, mini-dresses in one-tone brights. But who notices the lack of depth? People who buy Versace seek the comfort of the familiar. Now, more so with the new monogram. Or, mono culture?
The live-streamed show is a sleek affair. Part ad, part fashion show, part TikTok video, it does confirm one thing: many of us are unable to travel (or unwilling, even afraid to), but not a particular pair—the Hadid sisters. The siblings are able to be in Milan to strut their stuff—in Versace, strut they must. Versace is about a certain fierceness, the girl power that has now somewhat lost its potency, but can, as admirers like to declare, “slay”. Gigi Hadid has just given birth, and she’s back to work. Motherhood has not toned her down. She is in fine post-natal form and with a proud post-natal silhouette, can communicate Versace’s dated looks to kill.