Drawing out the fashion crowd in the middle of Milan’s sweltering July heat is nothing short of a miracle, as Karl Lagerfeld put it Sunday night at La Scala. But they had more than due cause: a performance of “Grazie Gianni, Con Amore,” a ballet choreographed by Gianni Versace’s longtime friend Maurice Béjart and costumed with new and vintage Versace gowns. The bold-faced crowd, including Santo Versace, Carla Fendi, the Missonis, Luisa Beccaria, Claudia Schiffer, Mariacarla Boscono, Quincy Jones and Jessica Alba, was enough to stop traffic outside the opera house.
“Her brother would have been very proud of what she did,” Lagerfeld said, referring to Donatella Versace, who arrived with her children Allegra and Daniel. “I loved the dresses she added [to the original Gianni Versace ones].”
This story first appeared in the July 17, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
At the end of the hour-long performance, Donatella joined Béjart on stage, standing underneath a giant Richard Avedon photograph of Gianni, killed 10 years ago to the date of the tribute.
“After so many rehearsals, it was even more moving,” Donatella said. Later, at the dinner held by the maison at Palazzo Reale, the designer stuck by Lagerfeld like a security blanket. “Karl was the designer my brother loved the most in the world, and it is a huge honor to have him here next to me,” she said.
Her daughter Allegra remembered her first visit to La Scala with her late uncle. “It means a lot to be here tonight. I think the ballet was perfect. It really honored my uncle in all the right ways,” she said, “and the way [Béjart] incorporated my mom’s dresses was beautiful.”
The evening left everyone feeling especially sentimental, including Naomi Campbell, who thought she was keeping her composure quite well until she did an interview with Italian television and “totally broke down,” she said. “I miss him a lot. It’s important that we remember him in the right way.”
Riccardo Tisci knew just what she meant. As a child aspiring to be a fashion designer, Tisci used to “dream about Gianni Versace,” he said. “He was an important part of Italian history and brought Italian fashion abroad. He was a rock star — Italy’s equivalent of a Givenchy or an Yves Saint Laurent.”
The mood in Southampton, N.Y., Saturday night was similarly reverent as members of the Parrish Art Museum honored departing director Trudy Kramer at its annual Midsummer Party. Men in madras and women in long, flowing gowns filled the garden tent for an elegant dinner and spirited dance, sponsored by Brooks Bros. While most guests including Beth Rudin DeWoody, Katharina Otto-Bernstein, Debbie Bancroft, Chuck Close, Jessica Craig-Martin and Patricia Duff were saddened to lose Kramer to retirement, one person in particular was quite pleased. “She’s mine now,” said her husband, Harry. “You can’t have her.” Indeed, Kramer was eager to attend to her new role as happy housewife, declaring that the first two items on her agenda were to “sleep late and make lunch for my husband.”
One thing artists on Long Island’s East End can’t get enough of is the light during early evening, and it certainly delivered as beachgoers gathered at Elie and Rory Tahari’s Sagaponack home for a cocktail fete cohosted by New Yorkers for Children celebrating the upcoming opening of the new Elie Tahari shop. As Coralie Charriol wrapped herself up in a chunky knit cardigan against the sea breeze, Elie Tahari, unshaven and shirt untucked, basked in the glow of a successful party. “As long as my wife is happy,” he said, smiling.