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Tonight in New York, Donatella Versace is launching the first Versus collection since the departure of creative director Christopher Kane (who recently attracted the backing of PPR/Kering for his own line). Versace is making some changes to its lower-priced line in Kane's wake. For one, the house is reissuing tweaked versions of some its classic archival pieces. For another, Versace enlisted the London designer J.W. Anderson, known for his sporty aesthetic and playful riffing on gender, to design a one-off capsule collection. In fact, Versus will now have a new guest designer every year. The archival collection is designed to be seasonless–Versace says this reflects how young consumers view clothing now in the age of the Internet–and both collections comprise clothing, footwear, and accessories with a colorful edge (like a gold metal iPhone case with an attached chain–good luck getting that through an airport).
But their relationship wasn't always this smooth. Donatella Versace says she wasn't sold on J.W. Anderson as a guest designer, at first:
"I thought, 'He's not for me,'" said Versace. "Then I went back and said, 'Wait a minute, this guy has something.' He's a great talent."
Anderson says that he, too, had some doubts about Versace:
"It's very family-oriented if that makes sense?" said Anderson. "You feel like you're being brought into a home. It doesn't feel corporate and I love that, the kind of the mistake of things. Everything I thought in my preconceived [sic] was shattered each time."
But the two have gone on to make beautiful clothing together. The J.W. Anderson capsule collection will retail for $485-$645 and be available June 15 on Net-A-Porter, Opening Ceremony, Browns of London, and Saks. Twenty-six of the tweaked archival Versace pieces will be available tomorrow on Versace's Web site. They will be priced from $250-$1250.
— Jenna Sauers
· The Odd Couple: Donatella Versace and J.W. Anderson for Versus [WWD]
· Versace [Official Site]
· PPR Buys Christopher Kane: Expect Leather, Shoes, and RTW [Racked]