collections

Atelier VersaceHaute Couture Spring Summer 2014 Paris

Runway Review
1/19/2014 Ed Kavishe/fashionwirepress.com & Matteo Volta/Imaxtree.com

On the fashion matrix, Versace is located at the exact point where high class meets bad taste. The tailoring, corsetry and embroidery of Donatella Versace's creations are second to none. Her skill at creating dresses which elevate women into goddesses has been demonstrated on a thousand Hollywood red carpets. But what makes Versace compelling is the musky note of sex and scandal which runs through it. To criticise Versace for trashiness is to entirely miss the point, for it is this very element – this salty aftertaste to the caramel-sweet femininity of gowns and sequins – which has made Versace one of the defining brands of the past three decades.

Donatella Versace opened Haute Couture fashion week in Paris in signature bold style. The lofty signifiers of couture, fashion's most expensive and exclusive arena, were present and correct.

A cathedral-sized venue, chandeliers strung like fairy lights from the high ceilings. Thirty two outfits, each created entirely by hand by in the Versace atelier. Fluffy white minks and chubby pelts of fox; reams of double silk satin, suede and tulle.

But the refinement was spiked with acres of flesh, by embroidery deliberately worked to look like body tattooing, by the paparazzi circus which accompanies Donatella's current muse, Lady Gaga, who attended the show as guest of honour, and by catwalk references to outrageous outfits by Gaga's predecessors in pop. Grace Jones was namechecked as an inspiration by Donatella, and Kylie Minogue's infamous hood-and-hotpants look in the video for Can't Get You Out Of My Head was revisited on the catwalk.

"I love to combine the traditions of couture with the daring of contemporary life. This collection has a control and elegance, as well as a provocative attitute, especially from the embellishments that are like tattoos on the skin," Donatella said.

The very first outfit onto the catwalk made it clear that Versace has set its sights on expansion in the growing Middle East market. The lapel of a silk satin evening suit, which at the front framed a deep 'V' of cleavage, became a luxurious, sparkling headscarf.

These elegant, hair-covering hoods featured on 12 of the 32 outfits, sending a clear message to potential clients that the house of Versace will deliver glamour on their terms.

The predominance of eveningwear was also a reflection not of the frivolity of this label's thinking, but rather its keen financial sense. With red carpet season fast approaching, haute couture is merely a trailer for the biggest catwalk them all: the Oscars.

View Runway
1/19/2014 Ed Kavishe/fashionwirepress.com & Matteo Volta/Imaxtree.com

On the fashion matrix, Versace is located at the exact point where high class meets bad taste. The tailoring, corsetry and embroidery of Donatella Versace's creations are second to none. Her skill at creating dresses which elevate women into goddesses has been demonstrated on a thousand Hollywood red carpets. But what makes Versace compelling is the musky note of sex and scandal which runs through it. To criticise Versace for trashiness is to entirely miss the point, for it is this very element – this salty aftertaste to the caramel-sweet femininity of gowns and sequins – which has made Versace one of the defining brands of the past three decades.

Donatella Versace opened Haute Couture fashion week in Paris in signature bold style. The lofty signifiers of couture, fashion's most expensive and exclusive arena, were present and correct.

A cathedral-sized venue, chandeliers strung like fairy lights from the high ceilings. Thirty two outfits, each created entirely by hand by in the Versace atelier. Fluffy white minks and chubby pelts of fox; reams of double silk satin, suede and tulle.

But the refinement was spiked with acres of flesh, by embroidery deliberately worked to look like body tattooing, by the paparazzi circus which accompanies Donatella's current muse, Lady Gaga, who attended the show as guest of honour, and by catwalk references to outrageous outfits by Gaga's predecessors in pop. Grace Jones was namechecked as an inspiration by Donatella, and Kylie Minogue's infamous hood-and-hotpants look in the video for Can't Get You Out Of My Head was revisited on the catwalk.

"I love to combine the traditions of couture with the daring of contemporary life. This collection has a control and elegance, as well as a provocative attitute, especially from the embellishments that are like tattoos on the skin," Donatella said.

The very first outfit onto the catwalk made it clear that Versace has set its sights on expansion in the growing Middle East market. The lapel of a silk satin evening suit, which at the front framed a deep 'V' of cleavage, became a luxurious, sparkling headscarf.

These elegant, hair-covering hoods featured on 12 of the 32 outfits, sending a clear message to potential clients that the house of Versace will deliver glamour on their terms.

The predominance of eveningwear was also a reflection not of the frivolity of this label's thinking, but rather its keen financial sense. With red carpet season fast approaching, haute couture is merely a trailer for the biggest catwalk them all: the Oscars.


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