A Versace collection plain? While that word overstates the house’snewfound understatement, the collection Donatella Versace showed onFriday night made a marked departure from her usual razzle-dazzle. “Ifocused on proportion and cut rather than embellishment,” Versace saidduring a preview. Indeed she did, and there were plenty of lovelyclothes. Still, the overall mood was, by Versace standards, a littleunsettling.

In a sense, her resolve was bold. The Versace aesthetic is one ofthe most razor-sharp in fashion, easy to identify and to lampoon, andperhaps for those reasons, difficult to evolve. The Versace glamour girlis one of the great archetypes of fashion, a paragon of high-polish,high-voltage, high-energy sex appeal.

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