Jessica Chastain, Amy Adams, Jane Fonda, Kate Hudson—no other designer dressed as many boldfacers as Donatella Versace did at the Golden Globes. If tonight’s Atelier Versace show is anything to go on, DV may score even more red carpet time at the Grammys two Sundays from now. The idea this season, as she put it, was “to go back to the shape of a woman’s body, which is curvy.” There wasn’t a straight line to be found, not on the terrific black tailleurs that opened the show, nor on a trio of the youthful emoji-embroidered minidresses worn with matching knee-high boots, and definitely not on the evening dresses with their swirling arabesque insets of nude mesh.
The color palette was a bracing mix of black, white, red, and royal blue. And to start, at least, the clothes were remarkably unadorned by couture standards. There wasn’t a single bead until look 14. That meant cut and fit had to count. Versace’s experiments with a new, more generous volume—seen on dirndl-style skirts and on a dress with a shorter-in-front and longer-in-back hem—didn’t quite gel. She’s much more in her element with a body-hugging silhouette. And hug these clothes certainly did. Think Cher in her Oscar-winning days with an aerodynamic dash of Olympic ice-skater thrown in. The best numbers in this hit-and-miss collection were the most discreet: those black suits with the asymmetrical portrait necklines; one-shoulder jumpsuits with a slit up a flared leg; a gracefully clingy one-sleeve white gown.
Versace made up for the collection’s early absence of beading as the show continued with a jet-embroidered dress so glossy it looked painted on, and a somewhat clunkier rubberized lace halter gown. By the end, Eva Herzigova and Amber Valletta’s numbers were more cutout than they were dress. Apart from Kate Hudson, who sat in the front row with mama Goldie Hawn, Hollywood types may look askance at going nearly nude to a big awards show, or anywhere else. The music crowd is a much more freewheeling bunch: They’re on a wavelength that Donatella is utterly attuned to. We expect to see multiple Atelier Versace gowns on February 8.