“Women’s bodies are curvy, sensual, it’s about being happy to be a woman – and sexy is always good,” announced Donatella Versace backstage, as she wiggled a little in her black pantsuit, which had flares to beat all the bellbottoms of the Seventies.
The Atelier Versace show
that kicked off the haute couture Paris summer season was almost – but not quite – a parody of the Italian house.
An apparently unstoppable flow of models sashayed down the runway wearing dresses in which flesh played a starring role. Like a compass contouring the body, there were rivulets of sheer cut-outs. All the swirls and squiggles of satin did little to cover up the transparent net and nudity beneath.
This was full-on sensuality in primary colours, as scarlet and electric blue took over from black and white. The pieces were scissored into rounded shapes with the skill of Matisse, then put together again as they licked the bare flesh.
When the models showed up to the Versace afterparty, still wearing the second-skin dresses, Ellie Goulding, famous for singing at the Prince William-Kate Middleton wedding, turned up the heat some more by performing her signature hit, “Burn”. Her “Love Me Like You Do”, which features on the soundtrack to the new film, Fifty Shades of Grey, gave the audience an early dose of Valentine’s Day.
If couture is about cutting and shaping, Atelier Versace is right up there. In fact, the thing that saves the brand from being an ode to vulgarity is how beautifully the cut-outs, the mesh, the lace and the flesh are laid across the body.
There is no longer any pretence of producing daywear. Yet an all-in-one catsuit, worn by model Karlie Kloss, had just the right 1970s-meets-2015 sophistication. The flared trousers were a motif of the show.
And lest we forget that the Academy Awards are coming up, Kate Hudson and her mother Goldie Hawn were front row, reminding the audience that made-for-Hollywood dresses win fashion Oscars.