"It was like Gianni was in the house!" exclaimed Hilary Alexander as we boarded our shuttle bus from Versace x H&M's re-purposed venue in the Meatpacking to head back to our hotel.  Pretty much everyone came out laden with bags, some dancing, some tripping and veering in all directions (errr…. that would be me…. like a fool, I did the empty stomach and champers thing) and giddily smiling.  Alexander was certainly on a fashion high as was I.  I know I'm a staunch believer in clothes first, spectacle later but the ingredients for a potent night were all there – a show venue that was as impressive as Versace's via Gesu space accompanied by a show that felt as exuberant and vibrant as any of their mainline shows despite the archive referencing, Donatella Versace herself leading the proceedings, then the performance pow wow combo of Nicky Minaj and Prince each representing a different generation of OTT artistry, with guests made to wait until 12.30am to shop for the collection in a frenzied manner.  Midnight shopping never felt so good and my drunk stance here with bag in arm sort of proves it…

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Rewind back to a few hours earlier and we were shuffling around backstage admiring the Axl Rose styling of the models hair and make-up, me shakily meeting stylist Joe McKenna and thinking I wanted to tell him that "You're truly great.  You don't shout about what you do even though you work with the best of the best.  How do I get a copy of Joe's?"  Instead, I copped out and just mumbled "Umm… thanks" as he admired my vintage Versace jacket.  Speaking of which, I spied a few instances of vintage Versace around backstage as a few of the Versace staff members also got stuck into the archives. 

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The show started with a booooooom, introduced with the bangin' Trentemoller remix of Rokysopp's What Else Is There.  With models going in both directions in rapid movement, the pieces from the H&M Versace collection, which I thought I knew intimately having studied the lookbook, memorising what I was supposed to buy for myself and friends back in London, looked different on the catwalk.  Expensive.  Slick.  Last year's H&M x Lanvin show was about whimsical theatricality as well as a tribute to New York.  With a closer proximity to the clothes (everyone got to sit front or second row), the flair of the pieces, demonstrated by my previous discovery of details such as metal corners on skirt pleats, was on full display.  Archive revival at Versace, although a painful business for Donatella to delve into her brother's past, was really the force that drove the collaboration.  I speak from a biased position as a Versace/Versus vintage prints nut (ten pieces and counting…), but Gianni's legacy having its moment in the sun, with the help of H&M to introduce it en masse to a wider and new audience, felt right and relevant.  With previous H&M collaborations, there have always been quibbles about whether the designer was devaluing themselves or throwing away brand values, but from my perspective, even when the collaboration was announced before any previews had surfaced, I had a stroke of my chin and thought "Great!", no qualms/questions. 

In person, everything looked a lot better than the flat form pictures.  The leather was soft and supple (I thought it looked a bit plasticky in pics), the womenswear bomber jacket had a very defined shape especially at the back, the shoulders on the turquoise blossom print dress were well constructed and the solid assymetrical dresses with cutwork embroidery and studding bore a resemblance to Donatella's recent collections.  If they had been taken out and placed into the mainline, I may have been none the wiser watching it….

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The star of the show was inevitably Donatella Versace who got a rousing applause as she took her turn around the room.  She then went over to one side of the room where the curtains were raised to reveal the stage and dance area resplendent with disco balls and urged us to join her.  Slayed by the magic of Donatella, we all duly followed her like gawping teenagers. 

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Speaking of teenage antics, my view of Nicky Minaj was mostly blocked by a wave of phones…

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…and whilst I THOUGHT I didn't know one Nicky Minaj song because I don't really listen to top 40 chart music anymore unless it gets overplayed to death, it turns out I did vaguely know one or two. 

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Naturally I was more excited by Prince than Minaj and whilst I thought he was going to bang out a four-song minimum to fulfil obligations, he delighted us with an hour-long set that ended with 'Purple Rain', the perfect finale for people to wooooooop over before rushing to the pop-up store…

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This is the point where I got so floopy and tipsy that all my pictures turned out rather blurry as we all surged into the store to get our Versace x H&M fix.  Much like the shop at the Lanvin x H&M event last year, it was surprising to see the hardiest of fashion insiders muscling in on what are essentially high street clothes.  The place was ransacked within a minute with men and women dipping into the rails of their respective opposite sex.  Thumbs up to the copious amount of staff who kept the tills running, the stock replenished and everyone fairly happy. 

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Andy of Style Scrapbook in the men's bomber jacket and Bryanboy in the women's summed up the gender swapping going on with a few of the pieces. 

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"My friend went to the Versace x H&M event and all he got were these lousy underpants."  Well, they're not lousy but they do have an acquired taste…

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This insanely deranged promo video debuted last night and I kind of like freeze framing on the bits where a phantom Donatella figure is controlling these puppet dolls.  I think there'll be confusion abound as to what exactly it's trying to say about the collaboration, the house of Versace or H&M when they hit TV screens but at the very least, it's not yer' typical soulless and po-faced fashion video. 

How many bags of fun did I have?  Well, one modest bag but stuffed to the brim.  I've learnt the lesson of frenzied shopping and that usually spells for wasteful excess.  Anyhow, it's that old chestnut, it's not quantity but quality!  Whether you were toting one shopping bag or ten (yes someone was carrying ten of em'), we all came away with smiles and giggles. 

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Comments (20)

  1. laura says:

    OMG looks like you had the most amaazing time.
    and
    PRINCE PRINCE PRINCE. I’m sooooo jealous!
    Gonna be in the que for some of this come next week.

  2. Andrea says:

    to good to be true, love everything!
    xoxo
    FG
    http://fierceglam.blogspot.com

  3. Serdane says:

    OMG this event looked amazing specially because of the crazyness of the show and the fact that… well…. Prince was here. I am in France and I am not really sure that it will gonna be so fashion as you dude had been… Anyway, I still excited about this night coming in France too
    http://www.younglington.blogspot.com

  4. Joy says:

    At first I was totally not interested but you got my hooked!

  5. Olive says:

    nice photos!! I love the collections! so many collors and pattern which is great for this season :)

  6. Ira Otivar says:

    gosh! cant wait to shop on the 17th! <3

  7. Wow looks so amazing, can’t believe you got to see Prince too!! Perfect night.
    http://www.rafflesbizarre.blogspot.com

  8. I want that studded biker jacket!!
    XO Charlotte
    http://www.thefashionguitar.com

  9. LOVE these shots!! I’ll have a proper read later but I’m in desparate need to find out–will the collection be available online?! XX

  10. MR Sleek says:

    I pretty love Versace for this baroque touch, which is a part of the DNA of the brand. however I’ not to pack so much that I thought by this collection for H&M. Far from me the idea to say that’s not a beautiful collection, however I don’t find the current touch of Versace. I believe that this collection would have had to have a more modern look. Furthermore, Donatella Versace, I think that collection look like a Gianni Versace collection, if it was the idea of this collection, is successful… But I think that we need to see a more modern Versace, We have to look towards at intended… but I have to say that the collection is nevertheless made a success well.
    _MR Sleek_
    http://www.sleekdesignmontreal.blogspot.com

  11. ida says:

    I’m a bit jealous of you.
    Versace for HM is a so wonderful collection!!

  12. elizabeth says:

    I’m jealous of you. You seem to be haveng a great time in the photos. I think the “axel rose” hair style was a cool choice, don’t you?

  13. Wow looks like it was brilliant down there, thanks so much for the roundup.

  14. la femme says:

    Awesome post. Looks like it was a blast…

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