Monday Muse: Grace Jones Inspires Atelier Versace
Donatella Versace’s muses have always leaned towards the world of music, so it’s came as little surprise when she bestowed the honor of being the face of her brand to songstress and provocateur Lady Gaga. Gaga herself was sitting front row at Versace’s latest fashion show during couture week, and she may have been boasting a perfect waterfall of blonde Donatella locks, but the girls that walked the runway evoked a different chanteuse: Grace Jones.
Gaga was wearing one of Donatella’s latest couture creations, complete with a Jones-inspired hood. The collection that walked the runway was a continuation of Versace’s couture trajectory. Donatella gave the audience repeated looks at the architecture and underpinnings of each garment (plunging necklines that were outlined with Jones’ hoods helped), a theme she continued from last year’s beloved collection — worn by the likes of Selena Gomez and Celine Dion. With one diva in attendance and the other attending in spirit, there was plenty in the room that lent itself to the glamour and grandeur of an Atelier Versace collection.
Grace Jones came onto the scene in the late ’70s when she rode the New Wave movement onto radio airwaves. She’s been performing ever since, and along the way, she’s racked up modeling gigs and posed for iconic photographers as well as appearing on stage and in films. All the while, she boasted a carefully honed image that included leotards, gender-bending outfits and skintight latex costumes — most of which were accompanied by her signature draped hood.
For her Spring 2014 Couture show, Donatella Versace showed a combination of structured armor-like jackets and decidedly un-Versace draped skirts. The Grace Jones hoods worked to soften the harder, more tailored looks (Azzedine Alaia, the man who put Jones in her first hooded dress, sat front row) and to give peekaboos at handworked corsetry and embroidered nude tulle bodysuits. Anatomical contours were traced out in tiny chains and crystals, giving the looks a futuristic effect, striking a not that Jones repeated her entire career.
Donatella used her workshops to the best of their ability. Nude bodysuits were embroidered with beaded tribal motifs and crystal tattoo patterns. Leather jackets were deconstructed and pieced back together on lightweight georgette, giving flashes of skin between the the pieces. Models walked down the runway in voluminous ball gowns that looked like liquid glass. Gaga drank it all in front row, but it was clear that today at least, she wasn’t the biggest diva in the room. Donatella’s throwback to Grace Jones’ brand of disco glam looked fresh and new. She was just bringing it to a new generation of admirers.