Supermodel Eva Herzigova models one of Donatella Versace's dramatic handmade gowns
Click on images to see a gallery of Versace's haute couture collection

"The gowns were really exquisite and I think much more glamorous and much more sophisticated than we have seen in the past," commented one fashion critic

22 JANUARY 2003
Donatella Versace opted for a more intimate setting to present her latest haute couture designs in Paris, showing ten hand-crafted gowns at her label's flagship store at Rue Faubourg Saint Honore. Though many worried the lack of an ultra-glam catwalk meant trouble for the Italian label, fashion critics are saying the collection is one of Donatella's finest.

During the exclusive presentation supermodels Eva Herzigova and Georgina Granville could be seen modelling the tulle and leather creations on large screens while guests got to view up close the high-glamour gowns which were exhibited on fibreglass mannequins. "There were just ten pieces but they were displayed in such a way that you... actually got to touch them and see them," said Daily Telegraph fashion editor Hillary Alexander.

Fashionistas have praised the collection of hand-stitched, figure-hugging frocks, which each took upwards of 300 hours to make. Many of the designs, which came in a basic palette of silver, black, cream and crimson, had a gothic mermaid feel and featured fitted bodices and dramatic trains a bride would envy. "They were really exquisite and I think much more glamorous and much more sophisticated than we have seen in the past," added Alexander.

Though the display was a rousing success, Versace reps say the house is planning a "full-scale glitzy" ready-to-wear presentation in February, and will put on a catwalk couture show next time round. "This season felt like the right moment to make a change," says the platinum blonde designer of the one-off Paris installation. "This is a way to present the clothes in a more intimate environment."

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