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Donatella Versace, the voice of reason?
You bet, and thank the fashion gods for that. On Friday night she showed a terrific, controlled collection, the best in Milan.
But then, these days, control seems to be the mantra chez Versace. She looked fabulous both on the runway and while hosting a post-show party that ran like clockwork before she excused herself promptly at 10:00 because her DJ-with-clout, Prince, had agreed to give a concert at the show space and he wanted her there for a sound check.
Earlier in the week, the two had some amusing artistic differences. He wanted her to open the show with a cover of “Over the Rainbow.” “I hate it!” she scoffed. And with good reason. Because, unlike so many of her Milanese colleagues, Versace is neither over the rainbow nor off in any other fantasy outpost.
Rather she is grounded firmly in the land of real, as in real chic. The collection was defined by two distinct moods. By day, it was all high-polished and ladylike in beautiful tailoring (a lean coat with multiflap closure) and an emphasis on dresses. The refinement proved a deft feat given the ample corsetry and bra construction that could have turned tarty. But Versace kept her high-waisted dresses loose and elliptical, and upped the sporty factor with short jacket, bra and low-slung shorts, all flashing skin, but oh-so-politely.
By night, Versace addressed the space-vixen mode that has landed in Milan, but with common sense. One could actually imagine women wearing her versions somewhere other than to a Courrèges-cum-“Star Trek” convention. And the only trek that her green jewel-collared column brought to mind is the one down the red carpet.