The appointment makes permanent a partnership that began with the little sister label’s Spring ’15 collection. Donatella Versace and Vaccarello took a bow together at the line’s New York fashion week show in September. To give you an idea of how excited about the collaboration Versace was—how right it felt to her—consider this: The company made almost the entire collection available for sale immediately after the show online. So it’s not a surprise that DV would want to do everything she could to make the relationship official, but that isn’t the way the brand had been operating. Vaccarello followed in the footsteps of M.I.A., the Sri Lankan rapper, and Jonathan Anderson, both of whom previously designed one-off capsule collections for Versus.
It’s the timing of the e-mail blast that struck me as interesting. Vaccarello’s name didn’t come up much, if at all, in discussions of who would get the Gucci job left vacant by Frida Giannini’s departure. I don’t know if Vaccarello was a candidate—and in the meantime Gucci has confirmed that Alessandro Michele, Giannini’s number two, will assume the creative director reins at Gucci—but I would have had Vaccarello on my short list. There are few other designers working today who can approach the in-your-face sex appeal of Tom Ford’s Gucci tenure, and a return to that look seemed as likely a course as any for Gucci as it tries to establish a strong point of view going forward. Maybe Versus Versace moved quickly to take Vaccarello off the market. Maybe not. Either way, it’s a good day for Donatella. The bigger question is, which way will Michele, who has been at Gucci since 2002 and worked closely with Giannini, take that brand. It would have been relatively easy to picture what Vaccarello—or Joseph Altuzarra or Riccardo Tisci, two other names that were thrown into the rumor mill—would have done at Gucci. Michele, who showed a womenswear-infused menswear collection for the label in Milan this past weekend, is more of an unknown quantity—and from that point of view, an intriguing prospect as a journalist. We’ll be watching his February 25 womenswear debut closely.