Donatella Goes Digital
Google hanging on the eve of the Versus launch

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“I’m scared!” Claimed Donatella Versace at the start of her first ever Google hangout, a hangout that streamed live to 1.1 million fans from Versace’s New York showroom the day before J.W. Anderson’s Fall Versus presentation. But she sounded as fabulous as usual to us. We summarize the experience in five quintessentially Donatella quotes.

“The new house of fashion is the Internet.”

Where else would it be possible for a British designer working for an Italian label to preview his collection in New York to an audience of bloggers in England, Italy and Los Angeles? The effect was Fashion Television 2.0: a familiar interview format made new through choppy webcam images. Photos from the next day’s show were uploaded live to the Versace Google+ community.

“More is more! It looks much better than less, believe me!”

Anderson’s extensive research in the Versus archives means a fair dose of vintage Versace excess is present in the collection. Signature golden lion heads, safety pins, chain prints and black leathers all made appearances, even on the workshop couches. Yet the designer’s mission to “add layers to the Versus character and see how far we can push it” takes the collection in an unmistakably modern direction.

“If you feel too comfortable in your clothes, you are not strong enough to create!”

Donatella may only have been talking about the tight jeans and heels she wears to work every day, but the quote fits the adventurous sensibility of Anderson’s take on Versus. A side by side preview of men’s and women’s looks showed a cutout gown next to a slashed crop top and trousers with a bisected waistband, topped with a tiara - an effort to blur genders and reexamine the proportions we find appropriate. “If it’s not appropriate,” said Anderson, “we’re going to go there!”

“I don’t really like perfection. Nobody’s perfect, except for me!”

We know what to aim for now.

“There is a great energy, and when there is energy, you don’t know when to stop.”

Does this sound like an endorsement for another J.W. Anderson Versus collection? No promises were made, but the enthusiasm of the two designers was clear. The hangout ended with a mass Instagramming of group selfies. We can’t help but recommend the next logical step of the process: shopping the collection online.