Fashion knows few if any aesthetics more airtight than that of Versace. When you think Versace, you think sexy. All-out, unabashed, flamboyant sexy, the kind of sexy that values fun and provocation in equal measure. The customer for sartorial sex Versace-style crosses generations (see Versace front row, Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson.) She’s pleased with her body, and why not? (See Versace front row, Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson.) She revels in showing it off (see Versace front row, Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson).
That customer’s primary goal when dressing is to heat up the room; she neither expects nor cares a whit about the fashion envelope and whether it needs pushing. In that way, she’s both a comfort and challenge to Donatella Versace. In the Atelier Versace collection she showed on Sunday night, the designer was intent on a forward push — within reason. Though the collection was virtually all evening (depending upon what you call a skintight plunging-neck, one-strap, one-sleeve jumpsuit with flamboyantly flared legs), for a good portion of it she rejected any hint of sparkle and shine.
Instead, Versace engaged in what she called “an exploration of cut and the curves of the body.” And explore she did, turning out more curves than a relaunched Spirograph. Some were as simple as a smoking with one side a traditional lapel and one, a collarless off-the-shoulder line, while others twisted, turned, looped and circled with a bravado that would make the class geometry geek blush. All of this curvature was an antiembroidery path to surface decoration, using the fabric and the models’ skin to create fluid, free-form patterns. An interesting idea, yes. But it grew tired fast, at times too tricked out, even though Versace inserted some hot-hued, full-skirted outliers into her mostly black, white and hourglass lineup.
A bigger issue: the fit. Versace’s is usually impeccable, as warranted by the couture genre and the designer’s second-skin silhouettes. Here, though, several looks bunched and crinkled too noticeably as the models walked, just too many curves for these most glorious of bodies to handle.