Sunday 13th January

| BY Richard Gray

Versace: Menswear AW19

It’s been 21 years since Donatella Versace took the helm of the clothing empire she built with her two brothers Gianni and Santo. And in September last year, Michael Kors Holdings acquired the world-famous Italian fashion house for $2.12bn. All change!

It was an eye-watering figure and testament to the hard work of the Versace family and their close-knit team. But, the buy-out begged a very big question: what next?

At last night’s AW19 menswear show, Donatella answered back with a question of her own, asking: what are the new wardrobe norms in modern male sexuality?

For Versace, this meant the coming together of men’s and women’s style. When worn by men, bondage-print silk shirts and crossed quilted handbags with silk headscarves re-tied round the neck are totems, argues Versace, of a new male sexuality. Her proposition is one that “gives men the possibility and courage to test the extent of masculinity and to tell their own story.” Broken down and beyond the beautiful and queering codification, this was a knockout show packed with great clothes, and, at the very least, a blueprint for luxury runway casting now, with a line-out (she showed womenswear too) including Bella, Kendall, Kaia, Liu Wen, Selena and Adut and all all the boys. The outfit styling – courtesy of Katy England – fused tears from vintage L’Uomo Vogue with the best-dressed found in late ‘80s queer London superclub Heaven. But most of all, this latest show turned the dial up to a new and exciting frequency at the house of Versace. The whole thing was exceptional.

Photographs by Jason Llloyd-Evans.