J.W. Anderson, the gender-bending Irish designer, is partnering with Donatella Versace on a one-off collection for the Italian fashion house’s secondary line, Versus Versace. While they’re at it, they’re shifting how the line is marketed in order to make it more broadly appealing to an audience that feeds its fashion appetite on the Web.
The way the two are launching the capsule line speaks to a few trends in luxury fashion. First up, Versace is changing Versus’ offerings to provide, concomitantly, a standing seasonless collection of the brand’s classic looks alongside the seasonal collections from different young designers (of whom Anderson is the first). By providing online images of the brand’s archives along with actual ready-to-wear, Versace embraces its heritage, the same way Courrèges and Jean-Paul Gaultier have done over the past couple years.
Meanwhile, launching the latest Versus Versace line, with an upcoming series of designers at the helm, prevents intra-brand confusion. Versus won’t accidentally cannibalize the main line, à la Dolce & Gabbana’s D&G line, which the designers eventually folded into the marquee label.
Last but not least, playing to the Internet audience, most of the Versus Versace classics will be available immediately online after they debut in New York tonight (you’ll have to wait a little longer for the J.W. Anderson collection, which will be available beginning June 15).