Kristen McMenamy opened Donatella Versace's show tonight. In a week notable for Raf Simons' sophomore Couture outing for Christian Dior and the absence of Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci from the calendar, Versace created a bit of news of her own with a casting that was a homecoming of sorts for both the designer and the model. McMenamy was a favorite of Gianni's in his nineties heyday. "They know me so well," she said afterward, raving about the fit of her pantsuit.
What made this Couture show different from the two that Versace has done recently, beyond the supermodel quotient (Stella Tennant also walked), was the attention the designer lavished on glamorous daywear. Donatella is justifiably known for her red-carpet fare—Olivia Munn and Princess Charlene of Monaco were in the front row. Here, she brought the body-loving, rigorous fit of her gowns to black wool shot through with 24-karat gold pinstripes. In addition to Kristen's pantsuit, with geometric beading at the shoulders and stripes down the outside of the legs, there was Joan Small's knockout sheath, with a sheer tulle panel encircling the torso and black fox fur epaulets embroidered with gold.
Unconventional tailoring was the star of the show. A boxy, boyish blazer made from gold metal that was worn sans pants as a dress had serious sex appeal. Same goes for a luxe jacket constructed from alternating strips of black mink and chain mail. They both gave off heat.
The short-in-front/long-in-back dresses in shiny neon chiffon that closed the show looked somewhat flimsy in comparison. A pair of pleated trapeze minidresses had charm and channeled the Greco-Roman vibe that Gianni loved. Still, Donatella is at her best when she's manipulating fabric around the body. Tightly around the body. Which is why for evening, the winners were a trio of clingy columns in silk cady with leather tubes sculpting the neckline and tracing sheer insets that traveled from torso to toes.