Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt.
PARIS–After an eight year hiatus, Atelier Versace returned to the Paris couture schedule Monday with an intimate presentation in a gallery at the Ecole des Beaux Arts that had been completely covered in gold. Ms. Versace could not have chosen a better moment to show her Atelier line–it’s a moment when clients are investing in luxury clothes again across the globe, particularly in Asia and parts of South America (especially Brazil). It’s also Versace’s moment–this Atelier presentation on the heels of the brand’s successful collaboration with H&M for the other end of the market.
There were no seating arrangements and the small number of guests mingled with actresses Diane Kruger, Cameron Diaz, and Abbie Cornish. The actresses gathered around the supermodels were different manifestations of the Atelier’s collection–runway and real life.
Classical opera music came over the sound system and Karlie Kloss was the first to emerge at the peak of the presentation platform wearing a skin-tight lace and silk panel dress with a built in corset. The dress set the tone for the 15 looks that comprised the collection: classic Atelier Versace, heavy on the embroidered lace and corsetry, and focused, as always, on the curves of a woman’s body. Gold metal petals placed around the necklines and the hips lifted the fabric to create a 3-D effect.
The only drawback was that the clothes, while made specifically for the models, looked a bit tight for them to move comfortably. Though maybe that’s the point.
There is no doubt that Ms. Versace knows the women she caters to. And there is no reason why these sinewy dresses can’t be adapted specifically for customers–that’s the purpose of couture, after all–to propose a look and then make the actual garment on the body of the client. See Angelina Jolie’s one-shoulder satin Golden Globes’ dress, for example.
The brand has done what was necessary to survive the changing world (and the changing fashion mood) over the last decade–trimming operations, cancelling the Versus line etc., to streamline cost and perhaps to prepare for the moment for a strike back. Now the Versace Empire is striking back with all of its arsenals at its disposal: Atelier, mens and womens collections, a rejuvenated Versus line, and a possible continuing collaboration with H&M.