“I am so fab, check out, I’m blonde, I’m skinny, I’m rich and a bit of a bitch.”
The words that opened the Atelier Versace couture show Sunday night could not have been more appropriate. After all, the soundtrack was “Donatella,” Lady Gaga’s ode to Donatella Versace from her latest album “Artpop,” while the singer herself — who stars in Versace’s spring ad campaign — was sitting front row.
The designer makes no apologies for her maximalist approach to red-carpet dressing, and this awards season found her in top form with slinky gowns that combined cinched waists with sensual draping. The corsets underneath were made to look almost invisible, consisting of a base of nude tulle embroidered with crystals arranged in thick, geometric lines reminiscent of primitive tattoos. Those corsets formed the basis of cocktail outfits, such as an asymmetrically draped powder-blue bustier dress paired with an oversize fox-fur stole, as well as full-length gowns including a chartreuse-green number, its embroidered bodice framed by a plunging hood.
“A contemporary goddess: power, determination, strength, and glamour — that’s what I was thinking about,” the designer explained. “And how this woman can show her soft side, being a Versace, because Versace is always very spectacular.”
The hoods — a nod to Grace Jones — were a recurring theme. Lindsey Wixson rocked the look on a white silk jersey romper suit with a navel-grazing neckline, and Maria Borges worked it to fierce effect in the closing outfit, a richly embroidered black bustier siren dress topped with a similarly elaborate cropped leather jacket.
There was plenty of sock-it-to-ya glamour, with fur items including an off-the-shoulder belted white fox-and-mink coat with a mesh hood studded with sparkling crystals. Versace also demonstrated subtler techniques, such as the tiny metallic chains that traced anatomic patterns on snug shifts. She experimented with technical fabrics to varying degrees of success. A floor-sweeping skirt made from a fabric containing fiberglass glistened like liquid metal, but a trio of dresses in metallic silk produced unflattering reflections around the hips.
Gaga, who donned a black jersey gown from the collection, said she was thrilled that Versace paid homage to Jones, a music and fashion icon who has inspired her, particularly early in her career. “A combination of performance, art and theater, and her work with Philip Treacy of course was something I always truly admired,” Gaga said. “To see these hoods as well as these silhouettes and the show is sort of a full-circle moment for me.”