“The calendar is in shambles; I am fed up with this system,” the Versace helmer toldWWD. “I think the business model of luxury brands is about to change in a radical way. We are all thinking about what to do.”But, while many brands are opting for “co-ed” collections, combining menswear and womenswear (Burberry, Public School, Gucci and Tom Ford all included) as a solution to reigning in the amount of fashion-week appearances that they make, Versace is adamant that this isn’t the solution for her family’s brand.”I don’t believe in gender mixing,” she said. “There are women and men; my fashion is totally different, with the same mentality behind the design process, but different. I like a strong, daring woman who has no fear of showing who she is, her force. The same with men. You can’t translate it in the clothes in the same way. Absolutely not.”
Her words echo those of fellow Italian designer Stefano Gabbana, who told British Vogue editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman at the Vogue Festival last month. “It doesn’t make sense in our opinion. Man is man, woman is woman. First you need to ask the question which buyers would come? Which journalists come? We sell a lot to the man, we need a show especially for men. For Dolce & Gabbana, they can’t mix.”
Since the announcement made by the CFDA in late 2015 that it had employed Boston Consulting Group to explore the options available for designers when it came to the current fashion model, the industry has reacted in varying measures. Burberry, Thakoon and Tom Ford were among the first brands to announce that they would be opting for a co-ed, see-now-buy-model, resulting in a switch-up of seasons. Others – including the governing body of Paris Fashion Week, the Fédération Française de la Couture du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode, and fashion conglomerate Kering – made it clear that they intended to keep the system the same.
The result is that the industry now has some brands that are showing see-now-buy-now co-ed autumn/winter collections in September, while others have kept their spring/summer outing to September and continue to show their menswear collections during the men’s fashion weeks in January and June.
Although Versace has been a promoter of change in the industry, it has to be the right change, she said. She added that while the see-now-buy-now model works with her Versus brand, she doesn’t believe that the same model can work for all brands, and intends on keeping Versace’s offering to the world of see-now-buy-now in capsule collection form.
“With see-now, buy-now, we’ve been pioneers on this. I must say, I believe in it, but for Versus, for lines that are less important, especially for young people on the Internet,” she said. “We can do capsules. For quality, you need time, especially with prints. The goal is to deliver more quickly, not in six months. We had eight looks from the fall show in store in the last week of May. We should divide the deliveries into two or three drops, because I don’t want to wait either. I see it with myself, and I understand other women.”