Exploiting punk, probably the most hackneyed theme in fashion history, and mixing it with red-light-district vinyl was the daunting challenge Donatella Versace gave herself with her tacky fall collection. She titled the show Vunk, explaining in her program notes that it was about “Versace’s new punk, as if the spirit of punk was born today. There’s no reference to the past.”
Hmmm. It looked like the usual rebel fare, minus the mohawks. Tartans appeared on dresses and kilts, mixed with that ubiquitous vinyl. “Vunk” was printed in garish lettering on a top, renegade-style. Skinny pants and biker jackets were occasionally studded, and hazardous safety pins favored by London radicals since the late seventies, were reinterpreted as silver spikes and nails. They fastened ill-fitting jackets, invaded pointy boots, and pierced vinyl evening dresses with slits, offering a low-wattage version of the famous pin dress that skyrocketed Liz Hurley to instant fame.
There was a fun element in the swashbuckling yellow animal print fur coat. But as a whole, the show, which was styled by Melanie Ward, looked heavy-handed. Still, it confirmed the current trend for punk, one that will culminate with the upcoming exhibition at the Met’s Costume Institute in May.