21 January 2013 by

Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week: Atelier Versace Goes For Gold

'It’s all about gold,' said Donatella Versace immediately before her Atelier Versace show kicked off the spring/summer haute couture collections in Paris last night. And indeed it was – from the 24-carat pinstripe patch-worked into narrow–waisted, strong-shouldered jackets and cigarette-leg trousers, to the talon heels of shoes. More precious metal came in the form of gleaming oversized epaulettes and exaggerated cuffs that were part must-have accessory, part weaponry, and the house’s signature metal mesh. It’s safe to say that Versace chainmail is as razzle-dazzle spectacular now as it ever was.

This was not a show for the shy.  Narrow fluoro pink and yellow silk gowns were trimmed with leather tubing in a contrasting shade. A fox fur gilet in vivid fuchsia was cinched at the waist with a Medusa head the size of a saucer: look at me if you dare. Ultra-bright and breezy baby doll dresses with fluttering silk trains were suspended from crystal bodices that radiated light. Leather, lace and jewels the size of boiled sweets came thick and fast – all guaranteed to please any flesh-flashing vixens out there no end.

With the sort of turbot-charged glamour Versace is known and loved for clearly high on the agenda, it would have been all too easy to miss the fine workmanship that goes into the making of such show-stopping garments. But the hand-craftsmanship that separates couture from its less haute, ready-to-wear sister was all present and correct too. It could be seen in an under-layer of pleated tulle embroidered with tiny rectangles of latex, python and patent leather peeking from hems, in the fragile embroideries nestling between pleats and in ribbons of chiffon studded with black stones.

On Friday, Versace CEO, Gian Giacomo Ferraris told Women’s Wear Daily that last year saw double digit growth in sales of Atelier Versace following its return to the runway last season. And , he continued, that’s an increase that’s in line with the Versace group’s performance across the board.

And that is a happy state of affairs. This is a name that is synonymous with exuberance, vivacity and an empowered and empowering view of femininity, after all. And Donatella Versace understands that very well.

 


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