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Versace Brings Athleisure to Couture

The inevitable has happened.
A look from Atelier Versace's spring 2016 couture collection. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

A look from Atelier Versace's spring 2016 couture collection. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

It's official: Athleisure has reached a fever pitch. With seemingly every retailer under the sun adding yoga pants and stylized sneakers to their offerings, the trend has now trickled up to the couture runways. Perhaps it all began with Chanel and Dior outfitting models in sneakers at their spring 2014 couture shows; and now Donatella Versace has put her spin on the movement for Atelier Versace's spring 2016 couture collection. 

Kicking off Paris Couture Week on Sunday, the show was a far cry from the hippie-meets-woodland nymph aesthetic that pervaded the label's last couture range, instead channeling what a press release referred to as "athletic couture." It's an odd pairing — sportswear worn to harbor sweat and the very finest stratum of clothing there is — and yet, for Versace's purposes, the two categories meshed almost naturally. The range traded last season's airy, floor-length floral gowns for interlocking panels and harness-like straps, adapting traditional characteristics of sportswear for haute couture means. Where athletic clothing ordinarily employs laces and seams, Versace used hand-crocheted ropes studded in Swarovski crystals. Soft, formal velvet was backed by strict, tough leather, while white-on-white ergonomic detailing traced jackets and parkas. 

It's an unexpected dance of ceremonial couture and pragmatic athleisure that Versace, and perhaps only Versace, was able to pull off. Much of that can be attributed to Donatella's legion of model muses — Gigi Hadid, Behati Prinsloo, Joan Smalls, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Natasha Poly, Mariacarla Boscono and Irina Shayk — all of whom embodied a dynamic individualism that was especially fitting for this particular range as they walked.

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Click through the full collection in the gallery below.