Dreams Come True on the Red Carpet

Among the most recurring themes of this blog, Atelier Versace is one of my favourites. As a long-time Versace fan, I’m always looking forward to the release of new collections, which means, for me, unwinding from ordinary life and stepping into a magic world, suspended from reality, where (fashion) dreams can come true.

I usually feel unconditional love for Atelier Versace collections, but the Spring 2011 has left me baffled. You know I love finding a theme that connects all the dresses, something which gives them unity and coherence, but this time I couldn’t find any. I am in awe for many of the designs, but I feel a bit disappointed, also because of a clear commercial vibe. Don’t get me wrong: I perfectly know very few ladies will wear these beauties, but I think most of them were designed specifically for editorial/red carpet purposes. There’s nothing wrong with this, but knowing commercial purposes are behind Haute Couture creations too is kind of a let-down.

Let’s start with a breath-taking number, a lingerie-inspired evening dress in silk crepe and chiffon, with inserts of embroidered chantilly lace. The shade is incredibly chic, a mix of peach pink and nude which makes the dress a symbol of feminine refinement.


If you watch it from behind, the complex alternation of tiered lace, silk crepe and chiffon can be fully grasped. I also love the super-thin straps and how they define the naked back, not to mention the short train.

Lucy Liu wore this beautiful dress at the Broadcast Television Journalists Association 2nd Annual Critics’ Choice Awards on June 18th, 2012. I’m not sure this pale pink suits her, but she looked lovely, thanks to the right styling, too. She completed the outfit with diamond earrings, a simple updo and a Boite de Nuit clutch by Roger Vivier.

In this purple satin dress we can find some similarities with the previous style: this is characterized by a sequence of asymmetrical flounces and transparent stripes, accented by inserts of black lace. If you don’t like frilly dresses, probably you won’t appreciate it; in any case, I like its lingerie mood, somehow reminiscent of shapes in vogue in the 30’s.

I’ve read somewhere a review of this dress, which compared it to the peach outfit worn by the infamous 1984 Barbie Peach ‘n Cream. The comparison is hilarious and not totally out of place: the colour and the volume on the lower part of the dress actually reminds the dress worn by Barbie. This is a bustier ball gown in silk organza, horizontally degrading from nude to deep rose. The flat panels of organza wrap the body and are retained by a diamantè belt; the lower part of the dress opens up like a rose: the flounces in different shades are doubled with tulle.

I must admit this dress didn’t convince me much until I saw it on the gorgeous Chinese actress Fan Bing Bing, who wore it on May 13th 2011, while attending the premiere of Wu Xia by Peter Chan at the 64th Cannes Film Festival. I’m glad she did it justice: she looked amazing and totally owned the dress, giving it life and an incredible charm. She paired it to a set of diamond jewellery and to a dazzling box clutch. Perfection personified.

An impressive ombrè effect – from white to black – is featured in this one-shoulder dress. The flat ruffles on the bodice are asymmetrical, but from the waistline down they are horizontal. The full skirt, doubled with black tulle, has a short train.

Asymmetry is also featured in the back, where the bodice is literally divided in halves: it is as if one part were taken away, leaving the back completely naked. This solution is so sexy, isn’t it?

 

The Hong Kong actress Carina Lau wore this dress when she attended the 48th Golden Horse Awards in Hsinchu, Taiwan, in November 2011. This is a major disappointment for me, because the dress on the red carpet looked so bland, lifeless if compared to the one seen in the presentation. I don’t know if it’s just a question of styling (Carina was wearing too much jewellery, in my opinion) or else, but they seem two different dresses.

The ombrè effect – from black to violet – can also be found in this ball gown bustier in silk organza. The ruffles composing the dress are made of organza and have a half-moon shape, very original. The bustier, with a base of black silk tulle, is embroidered in jays, so as to create a boning pattern. I usually don’t like the colour violet (I’m quite superstitious), but I must admit this mermaid-line dress is incredible.

I admit I was quite surprised when I saw Abbie Cornish wearing this dress at the Venice premiere of W. E. (directed by Madonna) on September 1st, 2011. I think the Australian actress looks stunning with fitted, a bit retro-looking dresses, but there’s something here which doesn’t convince me much. She had the right attitude to pull this dramatic dress off on the red carpet, but the final result has failed to “wow” me… Maybe the shapeless hairstyle is the wrong detail. A chic updo would have been the best choice.

This is the last dress characterized by the ombrè effect: it’s a ball gown in silk chiffon that goes from dark violet to pale pink. The upper part of the bodice and the skirt are embroidered with matte sequins and fringed silk chiffon, so as to get a peculiar fur/ruffled effect. I love the boning on the bodice, giving it a hourglass shape.

There’s a drop-shaped opening on the back, decorated with the fur-ruffled fringed silk chiffon.

Fan Bing Bing wore a modified version of this dress at the premiere of The Artist by Michel Hazanavicius at the 64th Cannes Film Festival, on May 15th 2011. While I’m glad she wore another beautiful dress of this collection, I’m a bit disappointed by this modified version: the high neckline and cut-outs on the bodice and on the back are gone, and so is the sexy vibe. In any case, she looked amazing.

The six dresses I’ve just presented are my favourites of the collection. Here comes the rest of the collection, which is bizarrely inconsistent.

White dresses are a trademark of Atelier Versace collections. This is a one-shoulder evening dress in ivory silk crepe. The knot of the draping on the waist is emphasized with a circular embroidery of jais and crystals.

The first celebrity to sport it on the red carpet was Charlize Theron, who wore it at the Vanity Fair Oscar party hosted by Graydon Carter on February 27th, 2011. She paired it with a Judith Leiber black clutch and silver satin sandals. Even if I’ve never liked blondes dressed in white, she was lovely.

I was quite surprised to see this dress in the collection, because it doesn’t look like a Versace dress (I would say it’s a creation by Alice Temperley, just to mention one). Tunics and Grecian inspiration are part of Versace’s heritage, but infused with a modern and sexy touch. I’d love to wear this dress, but it’s definitely not modern; this is probably due to the heavy draping on the sleeves. It’s made of ivory silk crepe; the drapery on the sleeves and on the bodice is emphasized by thin embroidered gold bands.

Lady GaGa wore this dress on April 12th, 2012, when she arrived at Gimpo Airport in Seoul. I’ve never been a fan of her style, but I must admit she looked amazing, also thanks to the lovely styling: the dress was accessorized with white ruched gloves, a pearl mask by Perry Meek, white platform shoes and a gorgeous pearl-embellished updo.

This evening gown is gorgeous, vaguely reminiscent of the infamous chain mail dresses Versace designed in the 80’s and 90’s: it’s made of transparent silk tulle, entirely embroidered by alternating threads and fine fishnets in silver, charcoal, dark and light gold, creating a pattern of bands that wrap the body.

Even if I don’t like Jessica Biel, I quite envy her because she often wears amazing Atelier Versace dresses. She never does them justice, because I don’t think she has got personality enough to pull them off, but this doesn’t mean she doesn’t look good in them. She wore this number while attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in 2011.

I just don’t get why this mini dress was included in the collection. I hate the print, which vaguely reminds the infamous jungle print of the green chiffon dress worn by Jennifer Lopez at the Grammy Awards in 2000, but it generally can be considered as part of the trademark Versace printed clothes. It’s true it’s entirely embroidered with silk and metal threads, sequins and multicolour crystals, but I can find absolutely no relation with what we have seen so far. Disappointing.

A year after the presentation of this Haute Couture collection, Diane Kruger wore the printed dress above at the Versace Etoile de la Mer sunglasses collection on January 23rd, 2o12, in Paris. I really like this dress on Diane, because she kept it simple and didn’t overaccessorize it: she only wore simple satin strappy sandals by Versace and – thank God – no jewellery. She was lovely but I still don’t understand why this dress is considered a piece of Haute Couture. Haute Couture, Donatella? Really?

I don’t hate this mini dress (even if I’m not crazy for it either) but – again – I don’t get it. Its colour – peacock green – is magnificent, as so is the intricate embroidery on the bodice, at the waist and on the pleated skirt, but I don’t know how to consider it in relation to the collection.

Another detail I love is the open back, not to mention the chiffon long sleeves.


I was really looking forward to seeing this dress in action, and Jennifer Lopez gave me this satisfaction during the finale of American Idol’s 10th season. She wore it while performing live and she looked sensational. I’m glad the dress she wore was modified – the neckline didn’t have the tulle panel – and this balanced the bodice a bit (the sheer neckline and long sleeves, plus the heavy embroidery, concurred in making it look heavy).

One of the last pieces of the collection is another un-Versace creation, an empire-style ball gown in indigo pleated silk tulle. The strapless bodice is formed by pleated bands and is accented by a brooch of exotic feathers.

The back of the dress is possibly more beautiful than the front: Madame Gres would have loved the pleated band flowing from the bodice into the dress.

Jessica Alba wore it on February 13th, 2011, when she attended the Orange British Academy Film Awards in London. I love the styling of the dress because it got rid of that weird feathered ornament, thus showing the gorgeous draping on the bodice. She completed the outfit with a cute braided updo and a statement necklace, embellished with blue stones and diamonds.

This is one of my favourite dresses of the collection, an evening bustier dress in lacquered red silk chiffon. Rectangular and squared sequin embroideries are featured all over the dress and have the function of holding the chiffon drapes of the skirt.

The back of the dress is impressive. Besides the train, what has struck me is that chiffon pleated band, first peeping through the sequined bodice, then flowing into the skirt.

Unfortunately, the dress as seen on Anne Hathaway, who attended the Vanity Fair Oscar party, lost all its magic. The flashes of the photographers and the lighting turned the China red colour into a magenta red, plus the styling was atrocious. Rachel Zoe’s child will benefit from the fee Anne Hathaway paid for the Oscars, but, despite Zoe’s ability, there’s something deeply wrong here, the hairstyle. I think this light brown colour terribly washed her out, and I don’t even want to start talking of those highlights; what is worse, the hairdo was floppy, too casual for the occasion and definitely not romantic. The only thing I like here is the Roger Vivier strass-accented clutch.

Do you agree with my feeling that this collection is inconsistent? Which is your favourite dress?

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7 comments

  1. Taken singularly, most of the dresses are amazing, but you are right in saying that there is no fil rouge connecting them. My favourites are the white to balck and the black to purple ombre’ dresses (purple is my favourite color alongside yellow) and the peacock blue mini dress, whose colour is stunning. I also love the dress worn by Jessica Alba, I have seen her on TV at the Baftas and she looked wonderful. This dress reminds me a lot of the Viennese style at the turn of the (twentieth) century, a period in fashion that I adore!
    I can’t believe how Rachel Zoe thought Anne Hataway could carry off that dress- neither Anne nor the dress looked any good!

  2. Sono stupendi! Quello rosa poi….lo userei come abito da sposa!
    Mi sposo in maggio e come ho sempre pensato ho comprato un abito di Valentino, invece di andare nel solito negozio di abiti da sposa dove ti “rapinano”…
    Mi piace molto di più e mi sono tolta anche lo sfizio di un capo firmato…;-)

  3. The ruffles gowns series reminds me Marchesa design. The last, the one worn by Anne Hathaway is very Versace instead, in my opinion of course. You are right when you said that on Anne, the gown lost all is magic and her hairdo is very awful. Who is her hairstylist? I want the name : )

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