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Versace revisits Gianni's memory in Ritz couture

A model wears a creation by fashion designer Donatella Versace during her Women's Fall Winter 2013 haute couture fashion collection, for fashion house in Paris, France, Sunday, July 1, 2012. A model wears a creation by fashion designer Donatella Versace during her Women's Fall Winter 2013 haute couture fashion collection, for fashion house in Paris, France, Sunday, July 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
By Thomas Adamson
AP Fashion Writer / July 1, 2012
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PARIS—In an emotional coming home, Donatella Versace finally took Atelier Versace couture back to the Ritz Hotel in Paris -- the last place she saw her late brother Gianni.

On Sunday, she chose the hotel for Versace's much-anticipated fall-winter 2012-13 show, which mirrored the glitz of her brother's heyday.

The Ritz -- in Paris' magnificent Place Vendome -- has a particular significance for the storied Italian house.

In 1997, Gianni staged his last runway show there shortly before his murder in Miami in 1997.

But on Sunday, Donatella ensured there was no room for mourning. Instead, her couture was a bejewelled celebration of a house with buoyant revenues and still lots to say. With actors such as Pierce Brosnan, Milla Jovovich and Jessica Alba in tow -- the celebrity presence alone was proof enough of the house's enduring pull.

"It's my first Atelier Versace show, and to be here in the Ritz is very special," said Madmen's Christina Hendricks, sitting on the front row.

The 26 dresses were all strict, revealing and uber-sexy. Waists were cinched to within an inch of life on mainly corseted bodices -- in metallic gold rose, blush and purple. Skirts were either mini -- one leather micro number was so short it verged on bondage gear -- or long.

The longer length evening gowns billowed with techno chiffon, of Barbie doll proportions.

Donatella is a designer demanding of perfection. It seems that being 6 feet (1.8 meters) is still not tall enough: one model stumbled twice, her heel tangled in her gown's cascading layers.

But the garments, bought by a core group of no more than 100 rich women around the world, are not for the average Jane. Creations range in price from $19,000 to $125,000.

The show ended to Prince's hit "Kiss."

You don't have to be rich to rule Versace's world. But it must help.

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Thomas Adamson can be followed at http://Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP

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