The heart of Versace has always hovered somewhere around the periphery of bad taste. Medusa heads, working girl stilettos, quilted fabric manipulation, safety pins, an over-abundance of flesh - and, well, Donatella.
But Versace has been catching my eye for different reasons lately. Why? One word - Gaga. Yes, that's right, the musical, ahem, pioneer who wears dresses made out of meat and is probably as globally recognised as the American dollar, if only for her general weirdness.
Apparently Donatella wrote Gaga a letter telling her how Gianni (the founder of the brand and the brother of Donatella) would have died a happy man if he would have been granted the honour to dress her. Apparently Gaga responded gratefully by appearing on the cover of US Harper's Bazaar last week in Versace. How lovely. Do I believe it? Absolutely not. Nor should you.
But there is no doubt something is brewing. In her new video, Gaga is wearing another rather racy corset from Gianni Versace's last collection before he died (as homage to the great man, of course).
Now call me a cynic, but I'm thinking more along the lines of a million-dollar marketing campaign here, not a sweet act of female camaraderie. This is simply the perfect example of product placement, the power of pop culture and the modern celebrity. Why? Because it works. Versace is everywhere, almost overnight. It was even recently announced that Donatella is designing a collection for H&M - a special one-off Iconic Collection for which she will raid the archives of the Italian fashion house to re-create them for the masses.
Which seems a bizarre move considering that in 2008 she was so against it. "I work very hard to put the Versace line in the luxury section, and I think to put the Versace line in H&M would confuse the brand," she told New York Magazine.
So look out, dear readers, here comes Versace, right toward the masses.
But just remember: Lady Gaga is a bit batty. As is Donatella. We, on the other hand, are more than likely not, and there is nothing worse than a manufactured poseur.
So while the bondage dress with studded leather and a million thin straps picked up from H&M might look like your key to cool, pause for a second and visualise what would happen to a peach if you bound it with dental floss.
You see, there is a fine line between opulence and vulgarity. And if you feel a little Ra-ra-ah-ah-ah-ah ... Roma-roma-ma-a ... ooh la ... well, you have more than likely crossed it.
This week's highs and lows
LOUBOUTIN x LIPPMAN What do you get when you mix re-created paintings with great shoes? A great ad campaign.
HEAVY MAKE-UP Sun + humidity = runny smokey Cavalli-inspired eyes. Not a good look.
A GOOD READ We couldn't be happier now that Karl Lagerfeld's photo book is in English.
SPACE CASE Now that we bought everything we wanted in the summer sales, we have to clear some space in our wardrobes.
LUXE DENIM Marni is launching a denim range for men and women as part of its A/W 2011 collection.