Versace kicks off Paris couture week in style

Joan Smalls, Kendall Jenner, Karlie Kloss, Doutzen Kroes and Caroline Trentini backstage Atelier Versace show, Autumn Winter 2015, Haute Couture, Paris Fashion Week, France - 05 Jul 2015. Photo by David Fisher/REX Shutterstock

PARIS – Actress Michelle Rodriguez and model Naomi Campbell joined celebrity attendees Sunday at the start of Paris’ fall-winter 2015-16 haute couture week — that headlined with Versace. Here are the highlights:


Donatella Versace delivered her strongest show yet for her couture line since its 2012 relaunch, in a fun and frothy collection that mirrored the exuberance of the late ’70s and the architecture of Art Nouveau.

The models, who wore turn-of-the-century flower crowns, sported voluminous flared silk sleeves alongside floaty skirts with long proportions. Wrought-iron bodices, meanwhile, added a touch of aggression to the feminine designs and harked back to the days of late 19th century decorative arts, as seen in the architecture of Paris’ metro and its many garden gates.

Colours were subtle and feminine — dove grey, soft apple green, fuchsia, pinks, and flashes of tangerine.

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This collection felt like a mature Donatella — who’s found her feet. And one confident enough to go back to codes more associated with her late brother, Gianni, like one fabulous black strapped, figure-hugging lace gown that perfectly hit the heydays of the ’90s.

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For Russian designer Ulyana Sergeenko’s on-calendar couture debut in Paris, she did away with the design exuberance for which the socialite-cum-designer is reputed.

In its place was a subtler show that channeled the clothes — she said — that might be found in an eclectic “Soviet Communal Apartment” apartment following the 1917 revolution.

It was a moment, so said the program notes, when spacious housing was taken away from wealthy citizens, forcing them to co-habit with other families and individuals from all walks of life.

The translation into clothes meant decorative details, pleated sections in the skirts that looked like mini-curtains, a square lamp-shaped gown, and Christmas decor and confetti used as appliques on loosely-fitting dresses.

Though the designs, at times, felt contrived — there was some beautiful play in proportion, like a long textured coat with exaggerated rolled-up sleeves.


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Russian ubermodel Natalia Vodianova is good friends with Sergeenko, and used her front row position at the couture show, which overlooked the Eiffel Tower — for vocal support.

“It’s a brand that has an incredible potential. … I actually have a big passion for craftsmanship and I think that Ulyana is an incredible force behind Russian craftsmanship,” she said.

“She’s gathering young and old women from all over Russia in her atelier in Moscow. She now has over 100 full-time people employed in embroidering, carving and doing beading and all kinds of work that goes into her collection,” Vodianova said, adding that “Ulyana is the reason that all women in Moscow dress like princesses.”

Photo by David Fisher/REX Shutterstock.

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