Versace returns to haute couture


Donatella Versace climbed Mount Olympus for inspiration in the opening show of Paris' spring-summer haute couture week, and was in top form after an eight-year hiatus.

Gold metal discs sculpted the busts and accentuated the hips as models with slinked down 13 shimmering steps at the grand salon of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, the acclaimed Left Bank school.

The show marked the designer's return to haute couture week, with the Atelier Versace brand reportedly capitalizing on profits from last year's lucrative collaboration with mass market fashion retailer H&M.

The clothes were pure Grecian drama. A yellow mini-dress with laser-cut silk satin sparkled with the help of Swarovski crystals.

The summer palette was served up in silvers, oranges and acid green. One goddess pearl gray evening gown made in Chantilly lace dazzled as the music climaxed with an aria from Tosca, sung by Greek legend Maria Callas.

Versace classics were revisited and given an Aphrodite-like twist, such as the leather biker jacket and sexy shorts with gold metallic gussets.

Gasps of delight came from the crowd, which included US and French Vogue editors Anna Wintour and Emanuelle Alt as well as actresses Cameron Diaz and Diane Kruger.

"I loved it. It was so sexy, so typically Versace. I'm looking myself to see if I can get one," Kruger said after the show.

That means fashionistas can look for one of the numbers on a red carpet in the not-too-distant future.