by Sarah Mower
Photographed by Kevin Tachman
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Donatella is back, you might have noticed. Riding high on the off-the-scale reaction to her H&M collaboration in November, she’s now chosen the moment to return Atelier Versace to public visibility during Paris couture week. “I felt so liberated by it,” she said of the H&M collaboration, which sold out globally within two days. “It’s given me confidence.” She could’ve added Angelina Jolie making it on almost all of the Golden Globes best-dressed lists last week in an ivory and red satin Atelier Versace dress to her list of positive auguries, too. For the fact is that Versace’s couture operation has been carrying on uninterrupted all along; it’s just that Donatella has kept it off the runway (not even allowing press to report on private views) since 2004. Now she’s stepping back, consolidating the high-low arc of the Versace empire with a series of presentations at the École des Beaux-Arts on Monday morning.
Last week in Versace’s studios in Milan, the seamstresses were hard at it, pinning and embroidering fourteen looks on dress-dummies made up to the size of the models who will wear them. Exactly what looks will transpire from the combinations of lace and slivers of aluminum remains to be seen, but let it be known: the foundations, boned corselettes, and lace body-suits that were in the midst of being prepared for the show are inimitably done. By the time they’re swishing lithely around tomorrow, they’ll be undectectable to the naked eye, but these elements are the eternal house secrets which make Atelier Versace work so well on the red carpet.