Versace Spring 2012 Review

Versace Spring 2012

Photos: Imaxtree

Looks from the Versace Spring 2012 collection

Show: Versace

Hair: Guido Paulo

Makeup: Pat McGrath

Accessories: Towering plexiglass platform sandals, heaving cleavage, jewel-encrusted marine-life

Overall takeaway: The Little Mermaid goes to The Big Apple

There's only one house in all of fashion land that could base a collection on the wardrobe of a beached mermaid ending up in the "hot, hot city." That house, of course, is Versace—after all, the Versace codes of short, racy and sexy are so firmly embedded in the popular consciousness they could find a way to riff on just about any source material.

This season, Donatella Versace and her team looked below the surface—not of the woman, mind you, but of the sea, using fish, seahorses and shells as the basis for pastel prints like an early-nineties Versace scarf. Sometimes those motifs were studded in gold across leather jackets, pencil skirts and bandeau bras. The under the sea idea also informed the fabric choices, with neoprene sliced into bubbly shorts like a fifties swimsuit, or brief dresses overlaid with fluttering panes of pleated silk. Those shorts, worn with big-shouldered zip-up jackets like a souped-up wetsuit, were probably the closest we got to daywear—fitting really, as the Versace woman wouldn't get up before cocktail hour unless it was to lounge on the beach.

The evening gowns naturally took the mermaid idea to its height (or maybe given the deep sea theme, its depths) with crystal-crusted fishtail gowns in shades of Aegean blue, sea-foam green and white. But for all their glamour, it was the short and sexy pleat-strung dresses, wrapped with studs, that resonated loudest with customers, providing a link between Versace past and Versace present. That will hopefully add up to Versace future.