From her ultra-blonde hair to her super-high heels, Donatella Versace uses every inch of her being to embrace glamour, and she wasn't going to put the Versace name on just anything - and certainly not a collection for the global fast-fashion retailer H&M - that didn't do the same.
The clothes will hit H&M stores in Mall of the Emirates and Dubai Mall on Thursday, skipping Abu Dhabi Mall's branch.
During their debut last week on a catwalk in New York, the pieces lived up to the hype surrounding the limited-edition collection as well as Versace's own glitzy standards. There were a metallic disco dress, a studded leather bomber jacket and an animal-print-meets-tropical-sunset tank dress for women; and a hot-pink suit, studded tuxedo-style shorts and a palm-tree, second-skirt T-shirt for men.
The runway at the huge and historic Pier 57 in Manhattan's Meatpacking District attracted a crowd that included Blake Lively, Uma Thurman and Jessica Alba. Nicki Minaj and Prince took their front-row seats just before the show started, and then emerged on stage at the after-party that recreated a Miami nightclub. Minaj did swap the green feather fascinator she wore to the show for a crystal-covered trucker hat when it was time to perform.
The Swedish fashion chain Hennes & Mauritz has partnered with big names before, including Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney and the Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz. Target's joint line with the Italian knitwear brand Missoni earlier this autumn created a frenzy, causing its website to crash the first day items were offered. None had a launch quite like this, though.
Versace said in a backstage interview that she thinks it's this sort of production, coupled with clothes embellished with sequins, studs, leather and lace, that will serve as the antidote for the struggling economy. "It was done totally wrong the last time the economy failed," she said. "Everyone said, 'let's do safe clothes of a good quality that people will invest in and wear year after year'. That couldn't be more wrong. The companies that survived the most were the ones that were recognisable, that stuck to their DNA, and our DNA is glamour."
She added: "This is a very joyful collection."
Tropical floral patterns were splashed on tight leggings and tunic tops, and heart-print dresses were covered with beaded fringe. Many models wore hot-pink strappy sandals and carried printed handbags with the South Beach motif and Versace's Medusa logo.
Many of the styles were updated and, with top prices of US$299, (Dh1098), were less expensive interpretations of the fashion house's signature looks, first designed by the late Gianni Versace and for the past 14 years by his sister, Donatella. "I really wanted iconic moments of Versace," she said. There even was a black dress with gold hardware reminiscent of the label's safety-pin gown made famous by Elizabeth Hurley.
Versace thinks these head-turning styles are the right introduction to the next-generation shoppers - the ones who know how to mix top-tier designer labels with inexpensive trendy pieces.
"Young people like to dress up and look cool," Versace said.
Versace has done her fair share of shopping with her own children, now in their 20s, at shops such as H&M. "I know this customer. I know what they want. They follow music, fashion. For the new generation, it's all pop culture."
She pays attention to it, too, she said, and she mines it for inspiration. "Creativity comes from quantity and quality of information. I want to know everything: politics, music, movies. Only this way can you come up with each new collection."