Friday, February 1, 2008

Clean and Sober, Donatella-Style

In the spring of 2004, Donatella Versace checked herself into a rehab facility and after around 20 years as a legendary party girl, got herself cleaned up. It's an amazingly difficult thing to do, and I applaud Donatella, who has by all accounts stayed clean & sober ever since.

And if this is what drying out does for you, then it's just one more reason to lay off the party powder and the jolly juice. Versace has been stronger and stronger ever since her first collection post-rehab. Time was, there wasn't a single thing that came down a Versace runway I was even remotely interested in wearing -- it seemed like everything was slit up to here and down to there and dripping with bling and had those goofy Medusa heads all over it. The baroque prints, the skin-tight shiny pants -- it all looked as if it was intended to be accessorized with breast implants and over-processed hair. These days, though, that is definitely not the case. Donatella has discovered the virtues of simplicity.

She hasn't given up glam, or sexy, or her love of color, thank goodness. (I don't think she's capable of it, I think it's coded into her DNA.) And I'm not even going to go into the over-the-top-itude of her own personal style (except to say that if there's a world-wide Restylane shortage the authorities know where to look). But there's been a real-life sexiness to Donatella's clothes the last few years, as opposed to the mid-priced-cognac-advertisement sexiness that used to be there. A lot of these clothes I can even imagine myself wearing, even though I am not twelve feet tall and carved out of bronze.

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These are from the Spring/Summer 2008 collection. Real freshness there, and ease, despite the heavy use of charmeuse, a.k.a. The World's Most Unforgiving Fabric.

But at the couture shows in Paris last month, Donatella really pulled out the stops. Behold some serious gorgeousness:

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I am a complete pushover for both this mille-feuille effect AND the ombré coloring. I've been shopping for wedding dresses with a friend of mine and am devastatingly bored by most of what I see, but I'm thinking I could stand to walk down the aisle in this baby.

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Oh, this color. This COLOR!

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Really love the way she's playing with volume in this collection.

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Many people feel the back is the sexiest part of any woman. It sure would be in this dress. And hey, wearing this you'll save money on jewelry; because what could you possibly wear that could compete with it? Little pearl studs in your ears would be all you'd need.

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This is my favorite. There's a little Balenciaga (the real Balenciaga, my favorite designer ever) in this. He was fond of pockets (although there is a part of me that doesn't much see the point of pockets on evening wear) and that voluminous back and the curved seam that lead from the bodice down into the pocket strike me as very Cristobal. Those ruffles have enough presence and substance that they don't come off as frilly or fussy -- those are bold, assertive ruffles. Of course, I wonder about the sitting-down thing, but that's the magic of haute couture. I expect that this gown is engineered in such a way that it's easy to maneuver. Nevertheless, probably they should send me one to try on so I can report back. Donatella, hon, just e-mail me & I'll happily give you my shipping address and measurements.

The ready-to-wear shows are starting in NYC this weekend. Take your vitamins and get lots of rest, there are nine squillion and three fashion shows scheduled over the next week. (Okay, I'm exaggerating. A bit.) Have a great weekend, everyone!

Photos: Style.com

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6 comments:

Deja Pseu said...

I'm really impressed. Those designs are downright elegant! Quite a departure from the trashy stuff I'm used to seeing from Versace.

benvenuta said...

I too used to ignore everything Versace. But this...amazing!

Anonymous said...

Gosh Aim thanks for the insult , I wear a goofy Medusa gold head on my gold chain all the time. It is one of my nicest pieces. I own a few Versace goodies ..But then you ARE the last word in fashion consultations to the stars of Austin Texas ,so you would know.LOL k

Fashion Networks said...

Wow! I loved the Green and the Blue. Made my wife go week in the knee. This is really classy stuff.

Regards

Kartik

www.Fashion-networks.com
we blog at http://Fashionnetworking.blogspot.com

Caroline said...

You're right, aim, these clothes are stunning, and about a million times more interesting than the kitsch that I think of when I think of versace. I guess I need to recalibrate my brain to take account of this new material...

r sorrell said...

This is a refreshing change from past collections... And if somebody wants to buy me that green dress, I promise I will wear it every single day... and probably not ever eat again, either.