At Versace Fall-Winter 2024, Donatella Says She’s Over the Himbo

Right now in particular, everyone loves Versace, and everyone especially loves Donatella Versace. She has always been embedded in celebrity culture, but when she held a runway show in Los Angeles a few days before the 2023 Oscars, half of Hollywood turned up for a night Versace says she considers a turning point. The spectacle was huge, but in reimagining power tailoring for today, it was also one of her most critically acclaimed collections in years. Dwyane Wade, who calls her “DV,” told me a few months ago that she is “iconic.”

There’s also no bigger name among nostalgic Gen-Z fashion fans: For those who covet vintage sportswear from the hedonistic ’90s, DV is god. When luxury archival fashion store James Veloria opened in Los Angeles, the racks were stocked with 150 pieces of Donatella-designed Versace from the ’90s and ’00s. In New York, downtown vintage dealer Emma Rogue slings distressed, medusa-branded denim left and right; Donatella invited her to a show last year in Milan. “I look up to her,” Rogue told me recently.

Courage, positivity: Versace has always understood fashion’s capacity to make you feel stronger. And this season, she found strength in sophistication. “The man in this collection,” she says, “is like a guardian, he’s a person protecting, this is what I hope.” In her office, Versace summons a model wearing a gray blazer with five buttons running down the front. Big shoulders, small waist. On an adjacent moodboard, there’s an image of Prince wearing a similar coat in red. This is not a coincidence. Perched on the couch, Versace explains that the man in the collection is a “shy genius,” the blazer an evolution of one she found in the archive that had been originally made for The Purple One in the ’90s. “When I think of a new man, I think of Prince,” Versace says.

Talk about seizing the moment. Did Donatella Versace just kill the himbo?

As Donatella runs through the collection, there is certainly no sign of silky cabana sets meant to be worn abs-out on South Beach. There’s a gorgeous red calf-hair coat with painted edges, made—like most of the collection—in Versace’s custom atelier. “We’ve been saying, this is real luxury,” says Donatella. The handiwork is evident in a series of brown bouclé tweed coats and jackets, embroidered with shimmery black crystals, that she says will be “expensive.” Luxury today, Donatella suggests, must be inherent, a clear nod to the new menswear consumer who is willing to shell out for real-deal quality.

Backstage at Versace Fall-Winter 2024

Courtesy of Versace / Stefano Guindani

At Versace FallWinter 2024 Donatella Says Shes Over the Himbo

Courtesy of Versace / Stefano Guindani

But it was really the sketch of Prince throughout that feels like Versace’s definitive statement for the moment. At a brand that has, historically, been relatively traditional in its approach to gender, the collection includes men wearing clingy tights and ballet flats, and riding pants under leather boots that stretch all the way up their thighs. There are more variations of that many-buttoned suit, too—some long, some short, all designed to make the wearer look taller, as originally requested by Prince himself according to Donatella. ’90s Versace is huge right now, and this silhouette, tweaked with a bit more heft and structure, feels as modern as anything else from that section of the archives.

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