Back in the day, couture was a godsend for wealthy women of a certain age who could rely on a tailoring atelier to construct a perfect shoulder line and disguise any other shortcomings or flaws in the figure.No doubt, Atelier Versaces’s couture clients have, like Donatella Versace, a gym-hewn body they’re not afraid to flaunt.
The workout-addicted designer brought some of her exercise clothing into the studio to give her design team a starting point for the spring 2016 collection. Dubbed “athletic couture,” it was built on racer necklines, flashes of neon, bits of mountain-climbing hardware and yards and yards of Swarovski crystal rope, some colored to resemble sport laces.
It made for a flashy collection that exposed lots of skin, exalting the curves of models including Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Natasha Poly, who whisked around a gleaming white runway in towering suede heels to a spoken-word soundtrack commissioned by the designer. “I was born with a body to manifest my power,” the underground musician Violet purred.
Save for white bomber jackets that opened the show teamed with couture stirrup pants, almost every dress hugged the body as tightly as sport leggings. Some were little more than tulle sheaths with swirling rows of sequins worn over brightly colored bodysuits.
Backstage, the techniques employed were impressive, and unusual for couture: silicon gel worked into cagelike panels hugging the ribcage; leather-backed velvet cut with a jet of water into intricate cobwebs and tacked onto crinoline, and those sparkling shoe-lace strands snaking around figure-hugging gowns. The one worn by Iris Strubegger took more than 200 hours of work.
The show climaxed with gowns and tuxedos that looked as if they had exploded, the remaining panels of fabric lashed together with those sparkling crystal robes. Female power, indeed.