January 21, 2008
To view Donatella's latest work for Atelier Versace, you had to book an appointment to visit the back room of Versace's Paris boutique. It was a low-key, un-hyped presentation of 15 gowns, but what was on show proves just how far Gianni's sister has progressed in terms of sophistication, taste, and command of materials. Simplicity and Versace sound like mutually exclusive terms, but there is something confidently new in her striking use of solid colorspale copper, geranium red, vivid turquoise, deep berry-brownand streamlined shape. Not everything is shorn of blingwhat would Versace be without a sparkle embroidery here and there?but the collection now puts more emphasis on the intricacies of cut and volume than smotherings of embellishment. Particularly impressive were a bias-cut goddess dress with a puffy caped sleeve swooping around to frame a deep-scooped back; a strapless chiffon siren gown with micro-ruching fanning to a mermaid tail; and a piece of virtuoso draping in red, spiraling in pleats around the torso to burst into extravagant skirts. Donatella may not have made a show-off statement about these dresses, but waitwhen they appear in public, they're bound to garner a loud round of applause.