Donatella Versace opened a 1,785-square foot Versace Vibe store on Mercer Street in New York on Wednesday and made sure she didn’t celebrate the opening alone. Stars including Kanye West, Bar Refaeli, Linda Evangelista, and Jennifer Hudson attended the cocktail reception feting the new SoHo store, as well as the private dinner later held at the Waldorf Towers. The space not occupied by stars was filled with editors, models, bloggers, and other ever-present members of the fashion crowd.
Donatella’s new BFF Lady Gaga made sure not to miss out, but when would she ever miss out on a chance to dress up in one of her crazy ensembles and make a much-photographed grand entrance to an event? In a slightly disappointing twist, Gaga appeared toned down compared to some of the other guests, especially at a party being held for a typically opulent, over-the-top brand. The singer wore a black skirt with a wide belt, a long-sleeved black crop top, and a giant black fur hat. Donatella had plenty to say about Gaga, calling her “fabulous, fearless” and revealing that it’s easy to talk to her because “she gets everything.”
The store itself was designed to be a combination of both old-world Versace and modern Versace, as evidenced by a mosaic floor inspired by the 9th century paired with plexiglass walls and gold accents. Donatella believes the mix is “a great way to show the heritage of the brand and the future.” Some ready-to-wear pieces will be sold in the store, but a majority of the space will be filled with more affordable pieces resulting from collaborations with other designers. The first designer featured in the store is Christopher Kane, who also codesigns Versus with Donatella. Kane’s current offerings include a line of t-shirts featuring archival Versace images and gold logo-emblazoned earphones.
Donatella admitted that her greatest challenge to opening the store was “mixing downtown with uptown,” but she certainly managed to do so in the end. When working with Kane to develop designs for the store, Versace joked that the two designers fought all the time and called young designers “contamination.” In fact, she jokingly insulted these designers almost too much to make her compliments to them seem believable. As for her other future endeavors, Donatella is considering a career change. The designer wants to sing and rap, and she insists she’s “not joking” and definitely “not crazy!” She believes that since they are so many rock stars that try to transition into fashion design, she should be able to sing. She may be working with fellow designers to fill her store, but maybe her friendship with Lady Gaga will lead to a collaboration of a different kind!