MILAN – Donatella Versace has always put up a good fashion fight.
For next summer she outfits a man facing today's tough world with clothes fit for an ancient Roman arena.
"The new gladiators are the young. I would like to see them fighting for a goal," she told reporters ahead of her Saturday night show, which closed the first day of menswear preview showings in Milan for summer 2013.
To underline her point, the designer opened the show with a bare-chested model sporting a gilded warrior belt, wrestling trunks and high-laced centurion sandals fashioned in contemporary sneaker fabric.
Throughout the show, Versace came back to the gladiator theme, decorating T-shirts and tunics with gilded embroidery, pairing the centurion sandal with evening wear and offering the Roman-inspired boxer robe as a lightweight overcoat.
When she wasn't in the combat arena, Versace drew inspiration from the Memphis Group — the 1980s furniture movement which opted for a colorful style in contrast to conventional home furnishings.
She used famous graphic prints to liven up classic suits as well as summer shirts and tote bags.
Noting that the Italian group rebelled against the then prevailing minimalism, the flashy designer quipped: "Who better than me to give the movement a new fashion twist?"