For Couture 2015, Atelier Versace transgresses on the bourgeois territory of the high-fashion 1950s for a tawdry spin on retro-luxe. Donatella reimagined the era for the Versace client, and injected hints of sexuality and fetishism into her collection. While not a shocking start to the newly expanded Couture schedule in Paris, the Versace treatment of “1950s couture” was a nonetheless enticing display.
Early looks modified the sloped shoulder jacket, originally engineered by Cristobal Balenciaga, with cut-outs and buckles. Corset waists and lurid slashed vinyl added threat and thrill to the proceedings, while one-shoulder looks and thigh-high slits attracted attention to the décolletage and legs. From this point we are introduced to Versace’s futuristic ball gowns, which featured deconstructed tailoring, cut-outs, abstract sequin patches, and bondage-like metal collars. The skirts of each ball gown were crafted into works of art that fell like suspended waterfalls around the body. Donatella treated some of her double duchesse silk with silicon coating, and amped up the volume of other looks with crinoline lining – both treatments affected dramatic changes in the way the gowns moved down the runway. Prior to this presentation, one would scarcely associate the Versace brand with a red carpet-worthy ball gown. However, Versace’s brilliant adaptation of 1950s silhouettes were cut in ways that exposed the musculature of the body without sacrificing the inherent elegance of the couture category.
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