It goes without saying that DONATELLA VERSACE has been the rightful successor to her brother GIANNI VERSACE’s throne. As his muse, Donatella was intimately familiar with Gianni’s point of view, well enough to carry on the VERSACE brand, even if it didn’t quite have the brilliant sparkle that it did under her brother. But she’s hardly been a slacker. Versace has, and continues to be, dazzling runway fodder, and requires a woman of very particular strength to wear the creations. Donatella has rigidly perpetuated the Versace look, even through times when the look itself wasn’t quite en pointe. But for FALL/WINTER 2015-16, ATELIER VERSACE presents all the traditional Versace hallmarks, but on a whole new level. Elfin-like hippie goddesses in headbands and STEVIE NICKS-style patent leather platform boots streamed down the runway in shades of lilac, silver and mint, as if arriving for the couture version of WOODSTOCK. The dresses, long or short, strapless or not, all highlight Versace’s traditionally complex patternwork. There is plenty of sheerness - another Versace hallmark - but what is entirely new is that the typically opulent fabrics are shredded on the edges to a fine, gossamer fringe. Asymmetry was in full-force as the dresses had a distinct feeling of dèshabillè - sexy, stunning, and the perfect
foil for such luxuriousness. And what else do we see in this collection… don’t faint now… raw edges. But these aren't the raw edges of say, OLIVIER THEYSKENS, or other deconstructionists - these are chiffons shredded to a feather-like softness. Almost more of a fringe, really. The edges are not out of place in this collection, even if they are new at Versace. Their lightness adds to the princess-like styles of bell sleeves and fit-and-flared layering. There are few defined waists - but since it is Versace, after all, there are some corset-ish tops and intricate boning that boggles the mind. In fact, with all the sheerness, some all we see is the bones, which takes the collection out of the hippie-ish, elfin realm, and catapults it directly back into classic VersaceLand. Though there are some distinctly retro-ish details such as the Stevie Nicks platform boots and the flowery headbands, the collection is in no way a throwback. It is some of Donatella’s most creative work, and being couture, it is not always hanger-friendly, but it is spectacular indeed. And upon taking her own stroll down the runway at the end, Donatella sported a singularly beautiful all-black pants ensemble that was related to, but quite unlike anything else in the collection. In fact Donatella looked really good (don't smirk) with a refreshingly flattering new haircut… and possibly some new surgery.