LONDON — She was afraid no one was going to show up (“I’ll probably be sitting there alone with my pen,” she said the night before), but Donatella Versace ended her personal appearance at Harrods Friday afternoon with a cramp in her hand and a smile on her face.
“It was spectacular! The crowd was amazing,” said Versace, who signed hundreds of bottles of her latest fragrance, Crystal Noir, for fans who had lined up in the store’s fragrance hall hours before she arrived at noon.
The crowds, with their cameras and adoring smiles, recalled the days when the late Gianni Versace made his personal appearances at the store. Harrods had expected to sell 10,000 pounds, or $18,000, worth of the fragrance, which costs 58 pounds, or $104. But by the end of the day, the store had rung up some 20,000 pounds, or $36,000, in sales.
Meanwhile, Versace’s private dinner in the back room at Cipriani on Thursday night was a more intimate affair. The 30 guests, including Madonna and Guy Ritchie, Mario Testino, George Michael, Crown Prince and Princess Pavlos of Greece, Elizabeth Hurley, Tracey Emin, David Collins and David Furnish, dined on mozzarella and tomato salad, grilled vegetables and lobster ravioli, and drank vintage Laurent Perrier rose champagne.
Each place was set with a single fresh gardenia — one of the two main ingredients in Crystal Noir — while the tables were scattered with votive candles custom-colored to match the fragrance’s claret-colored bottle.
Donatella table-hopped most of the evening, chatting with her guests while Harvey Weinstein, who happened to be eating in the restaurant, stopped by to say hello after the tiramisu was served.
— Samantha Conti
This story first appeared in the October 11, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.