>> When Donatella Versace presented the Spring 2010 Atelier Versace collection by appointment only during couture week at the end of January, Hamish Bowles reported sightings of gowns adorned with "chunks of Swarovski crystal, swags of fine silvery chains, and hologram discs to give a Paco Rabanne-esque edge." Now, you can see for yourself: Versace just uploaded the collection's lookbook today, featuring Kasia Struss.
>> Donatella Versace presented her latest Atelier Versace collection during Paris couture this week, all red carpet-ready gowns adorned with "chunks of Swarovski crystal, swags of fine silvery chains, and hologram discs to give a Paco Rabanne-esque edge," as Hamish Bowles reported. But the behind-the-scenes situation at the company isn't quite as glamorous.
Versace just announced that it will eliminate 350 of its 1,360 jobs, representing 26 percent of its workforce, worldwide starting in March and ending in June — part of a plan to return to profitability in 2011.
Donatella is also launching a new collection — Versace Collection — under her creative direction, which will be priced 30 to 40 percent below the house's signature collection. The Fall entree abides by the Versace codes of color, sexiness, prints, and glamour and includes 230 pieces, among them egg-shaped coats in oatmeal, cocktail dresses with lace and tulle insets, and degrade fitted jackets.
>> Myf Shepherd Takes Break from Modeling; Jean Paul Gaultier Casts Miss France for Couture Runway —After noticeably easing up on her runway schedule last season, Myf Shepherd has decided to break and focus on studying theater set design at Sydney's College of Fine Arts. She won't walk the runway this year, but may do a few direct bookings — she appears on the February 2010 cover of Dazed & Confused Japan. Her mother agency in Australia expects her to return to modeling in 2011. Meanwhile, was a new catwalker born at Jean Paul Gaultier's couture show? Gaultier asked Miss France 2009 Chloe Mortaud to walk after serving as a judge for the 2010 pageant. [Frockwriter, Style File]
>> A year after Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli dropped their first Valentino couture collection — an ode to the archives — the designers have entirely switched direction. "We think that to keep a future in couture, it's necessary to bring a new customer who wants something cooler," Chiuri said backstage. Piccioli added, "We tried to make new strategies for going forward. To do that we have to experiment with new silhouettes . . . because we want to call the young girls. They can be new customers for couture because they want beauty, they want personalized things."
This injection of youth involved Alice Dellal walking the runway and sheer ribbon blindfolds created by Philip Treacy; the graphically colorful collection is already earning comparisons to Nicolas Ghesquiere's Balenciaga, with some terming it "Valenciaga." But Piccioli says the collection is "about a woman wandering in this beautiful Eden. It's a dream. Couture is a dream."
>> And then there was one. With Christian Lacroix off the couture schedule, Jean Paul Gaultier is the only French designer left creating couture for a major house. Braids melded into mohawks, couture cowboy boots, sombreros, palm frond clutches, gauchos . . . as Gaultier explained it: “I saw the Avatar and, like everyone, found it extraordinary. And from there I began thinking of nature and ecology, and the Latin American tropics; and from there it was not very far to Mexico.”
Pre-show, Anna Wintour's bodyguard almost knocked Carine Roitfeld over — the knocks just keep on coming — and to finish out the show, Mexican-raised Paris-based actress Arielle Dombasle serenaded the audience before joining Gaultier in his bow.
>> Givenchy started forty minutes late this evening, due in part to the delayed arrival of Riccardo Tisci favorite Ciara — the photographers booed her on her way in. Speaking of arrivals — muse Mariacarla Boscono wasn't able to make it, so fellow brand face Natalia Vodianova, fresh of her Etam lingerie collection presentation yesterday, filled in.
Lampshade hats fit atop some models's heads, while others donned ruffles and jewel tones galore. But the most unexpected trend emerging from the couture catwalk, courtesy of Chanel and now Givenchy: the bermuda short.
>> No rolls in the hay today — Karl Lagerfeld, much like Giorgio Armani, was enthralled with glistening white gowns today at Chanel Spring 2010 couture. Perhaps more of a surprise: his fixation on pastel tweed culotte suits.
Guests — including a pregnant Claudia Schiffer, who arrived late and said that she only briefly plans to take a break from work to give birth — reclined on silver sofas while models glided by with Daphne Guinness-streaked Minnie Mouse hair, symbolizing Lagerfeld's "neon baroque" theme. The pastel collection represented a break from the usual black and white color scheme — Lagerfeld looked at working without black as "a challenge," he said. "I saw it in a dream and I made the sketches . . . [thanks to] an electronic flash in my head at five o'clock one morning. Silver and pastel. It's the first time in my whole career I've done a collection without black or navy. There's not one gold button." Abbey Lee Kershaw and Baptiste Giabiconi had finale honors as bride and groom — the latter in a silver foil suit.
>> Awards season is in full swing, and his coup scoring the most dresses at the Golden Globes, it's clear from what Giorgio Armani served up on the Prive runway that he has one thing on his mind: the red carpet. With a crescent moon backdrop and Anne Hathaway — who wore Prive to the Oscars last year — front row, he sent out gown after gown — simple and shimmering. It won't be surprising to see a couple of the lunar looks again soon in a different, more star-studded arena.
>> Couture kicked off in Paris today, but back in New York plans are being laid for ready-to-wear fashion week — just two and a half weeks away. Supreme Management released their show package for New York Fashion Week today, with the likes of Alana Zimmer, Hanne-Gaby Odiele, and promising newcomer Reina Montero captured in darkly balletic portraits by agency founder and photography dabbler Paul Rowland. Missing from the lineup are Cecilia Mendez, Flo Gennaro (who just walked Dior couture runway today), and last seaons' Prada closer Kate Kosushkina, but perhaps they'll pop up anyway. Full show package at Models.com.
>> Karl Lagerfeld On What to Expect at Chanel Couture —When Karl Lagerfeld showed up to take his usual front row seat at Dior Homme Saturday (he shoots the brand's campaigns), he was feeling generous with hints on what to expect at the Chanel Spring 2010 couture show tomorrow: “Two words: neon baroque.” Chanel isn't the only headlining act yet to play this week in Paris: Natalia Vodianova is hosting a dinner for her lingerie collection with Etam, for which Charlotte Gainsbourg will perform, and Kate Moss is holding a Longchamp party at the Ritz, with a Queens of Noize performance promised. [WWD, Style.com]