The Versace woman has always been a creature of consummate self-control, a perfectly polished testament to the craft of the makeup artist, the hairdresser, and the designer who clothes her. So it was rather wonderful today to see that woman cram herself into a pickup with a gang of her girlfriends and head for the desert, Queens of the Stone Age blaring, with a shoulder bag of crinkled tie-dyed silks and a pair of jeans. We'll also allow her a toothbrush, a hair dryer, and—because she is a V-Girl, after all—some heeled gladiators and a grunge goddess gown. But only if that's tie-dyed too.
Donatella's been riding a high/low wave since the coincidence of her collection for H&M and the reintroduction of Atelier Versace. Today, she remodeled Versace for the Coachella set. "Tailoring with a lingerie edge" was the anodyne inspiration claimed by the show notes. Yes, there were a few jackets, the oversize kind that are popularly known as boyfriend jackets, but they paled beside the lacy tops—and they were definitely more tops than dresses—which, with their crinkles and slashes and low-slung belts, had the carefree sensuality of festival gear. The casual almost-nudity of slashed 'n' laced skirts and slipdresses fitted right in. They demanded concentration, or luck, to avoid the kind of wardrobe malfunction that popped out at least once on today's catwalk.
It wasn't just Stevie Nicks on the soundtrack that cued a West Coast vibe. Striated colors made you think of the desert sands of Zabriskie Point, or a tequila sunrise, or the deep, warm blue of night skies over Cabo. It was refreshing to see the Versace palette shift from icy to organic. Even the Medusa was tie-dyed. So was the eveningwear, slit high on the thigh and fringed with metal, like a hula skirt for a new queen of the stone age. After all that, Donatella struck an unusually sober note when she took her bow in a black pantsuit. But her hair was newly tousled, like she was just back from a top-down road trip. "No, I did that years ago," she said. "But I didn't drive." A meaningful look left the rest of that story to your imagination.