Donatella Versace doesn't think small. When she returns to Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris on July 1, she will come equipped with some heavy-duty fashion armor: a show at the Ritz hotel and a debut of a much-anticipated jewelry collection.
Including 16 hand-sculpted rings mounted with diamonds, emeralds, sapphires and amethysts, the opulent collection will be available for purchase by appointment only.
"As a designer and a collector of fine jewelry, I have always wanted to offer the same quality of craftsmanship in jewelry as we offer with the Atelier Versace fashion collection," she said. "Each individual ring from the collection is a work of art."
For many reasons the collection is a big deal for Donatella. Between 2004 - 2011, she took a break from couture shows. And even though her presentation last January was well-reviewed, she is intent on not being a one-hit wonder. Showing the clothes and jewelry this year at the Ritz, which will soon close for an unprecedented renovation, says: "I'm not going anywhere."
Launching a line of baubles is considered a bit of a risk for a clothing designer. Though large houses like Chanel, Gucci and Prada do sell jewelry, many don't. The reason? It's extremely difficult to compete with jewelry powerhouses like Tiffany, Cartier, Neil Lane and Harry Winston. The mindset? Let them do what they do, and we'll do what we do.
But Donatella's not launching a large collection for the mass market. These will be custom, statement-making jewels. And for that kind of product she'll likely get bang for the buck. It will surely be a public-relations boon. And it reinforces the fact that she's returning to couture.
The Emmys are coming up on Sept. 23. We'll be waiting to see if January wears one of the rings.