Tuesday 24 July 2012

Paris Haute Couture | Atelier VERSACE Fall 2012 Couture


Donatella Versace's comeback to the Paris couture schedule was made official with the first public presentation of her Atelier Versace collection in January 2012. Take it as a sign that Donatella Versace’s got her mojo back. After nearly ten years’ abstinence from full-force runway presentations for the Atelier Versace Haute Couture FW 2012/13 collection, Gianni Versace’s little sister found the courage to take the show back to the original stomping ground of some of her late brother’s glitziest hits: the covered swimming pool of the Ritz Paris. Since Gianni’s death in 1997, Donatella has chosen to release the couture collection in a private manner, continuing seasonal updates of the house made-to-order enterprise by appointment only. 

For spring 2012 couture, she took the tentative step of presenting on a tableau of girls on a golden stage in the École des Beaux-Arts. But this time, yes: She was properly back, no-holds-barred, with a runway show opened by Lindsey Wixson, a 2012 descendent of the glamazonians who roamed Versace shows back in the day. Donatella has been buoyed up to this new level of confidence by the popular enthusiasm for last year’s H&M collaboration finally, she’s been saying, that push from the low end made her believe she can dare to reclaim the Versace high ground, too.

Couture, of course, is where a designer gets to show off the bravura skills and innovations of his or her atelier (and come to think of it, Donatella is the only “her” in couture, except for Valentino’s Maria Grazia Chiuri). One of Versace’s signatures is complex piecing, micro-calculated to hug the contours of the body while exposing or appearing to expose as much skin as possible. In this collection, she deployed every technique in the arsenal to that effect, creating sinuous, patchworked dresses of crystal-beaded chiffon the best, in beige, slithering over every inch of the chameleon form of Karlie Kloss as well as minidresses in chain mail, latticework corsets constructed from strips of patent leather, and short coats pieced from variegated zones of perforated leather. As for innovation? Donatella likes to incorporate nontraditional materials into couture. Where last season that meant presenting her studios with the challenge of inserting shards of metal into dresses, this time the task was how to sew the finest hi-tech Japanese polyester into floating, shimmery skirts so lightweight that they seemed to flutter almost in slow motion, with a life of their own.

The overall concept, according to program notes, was taken from the design of tarot cards, but once the materials had been diced up and reconstructed, not much of that source was still visible, except perhaps, the roman numeral XIX on a belt although at first sight, that might equally be mistaken as the ideal age of a Versace wearer. What, though, of the judgment call Donatella may have been avoiding all these years the comparison between her work and her brother’s? Well, these are different times, and Donatella Versace’s touch is softer the color palette less strident, the accessorizing less fierce. Perhaps this time she was just putting a toe in the water, not wanting to risk too many references to the past. Yet perhaps that’s just the direction her audience, old and new, are willing her towards more bling, more sexiness, more fun and irony. All they’re waiting for her to do now is to let loose and take it to the max.

Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories 

Photo Credits/Source: © VOGUE
Photography for VOGUE: © Yannis Vlamos/GoRunway
Runway video via © Fatalefashion


Spring/Summer 2012 Couture collection


'MFW | Mermaids by VERSACE'

Spring/Summer 2012 Collection

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