Versace unleashes rhinestone cowboys for fall 2014

MILAN (AP) — Italian fashion house Versace showed a cowboy-themed menswear collection for fall 2014 on Saturday that was outrageously fun, even by Versace standards.

"Our cowboy is macho, he's a biker ... he doesn't have a horse," designer Donatella Versace said backstage after the show. Donatella's cowboys wear their boots with sharp, tight suits decorated with rhinestone horseshoes and cactus plants on both front and back. These cowhands head out on the town wearing red leather chaps over their jeans, or sometimes just over their bandanna-print underwear. Cheeky indeed!

Cowboy bikers at Versace wear leather pants, fur motorcycle jackets, hip-hop chains, silk shirts with "Western Cowboy" on the back, or quilted bombers over their bare chests. They sport studded or rhinestone codpieces that do double-duty as belts. Motorcycle helmets bearing the house's trademark Medusa motifs add to the fun.

The collection included a few covetable, sumptuous pieces, like a camel overcoat that looked as thick as a carpet. But mostly it was a camp celebration of manhood in many forms, from the automobile grilles decorating the runway to the "vroom vroom" motorcycle revving up the start of the soundtrack.

The late Gianni Versace was famous for mixing cultural references spanning Ancient Greece to Andy Warhol into his carefully tailored work, but the cowboy theme has appeared only once before. "Gianni did a haute couture cowboy dress once modelled by Naomi Campbell in Paris," said Donatella Versace, his sister who took over after his tragic death. "It had a fringe skirt."

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