An incredible departure from Donatella Versace’s house signatures of ultra sexy, amped up embroideries, and logos, the Atelier Fall 16 Couture collection showed powerful pieces that showed off the house’s softer side, with draping, tailoring, and sculpting. The show opened in stellar drama, with Karen Elson in a cinched waist blush cashmere coat lined in mint, with one lapel falling off the shoulder, revealing a scarlet bustier gown underneath.
Versace started with rich and unusual color combinations in crimson, blush, lavendar, grey, and sky blue with mostly long silhouettes, building sculptural and draping details to create long, arcing shapes around the female form.
Unfortunately, Donatella didn’t stick with the aesthetic of the opening act, and for a few moments throughout the runway show, the experimentation took the collection way off the visual track. Some of the pieces started to get a bit curious, appearing as though swaths of fabric were just placed randomly on the form with no reason or thought, while others seemed slightly over worked. Thankfully, these were the exception.
Highlight looks beyond the openers were the black gown with a low draped shoulder and high slit, the sky blue jumpsuit with one-shoulder halter bodice cascading down into a long gown skirt with a slate lining, and the sky blue strapless gown with a tight linear belt of cascading swaths of fabric lines starting off the shoulder and cascading down around the bodice creating a celestial belt before running down the hemline to outline the leg in a high slit.
Whether you love it or hate it, you have to admit, Donatella is at the core an artist. She is not designing for the masses, nor for what will inevitably sell at the highest price. She is a creator, a risk taker, an experimenter. And whether or not I respond with joy or repulsion to each individual piece, when I look at what she did as a whole in her collection, I have such incredible respect for her as an artist for sticking to her ideals as an individual, knowing that in this age of social media, her works will inevitably be ripped apart and knit picked by the public.
I didn’t really love her work before. But as of today, consider me a fan.