Donatella Versace Gets Sporty in Beijing

The house held a bash for the players of FC Internazionale.

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BEIJING — Storied soccer rivals AC Milan and FC Internazionale face each other here Saturday in this year’s edition of the Supercoppa Italiana, but that’s not the only competition transpiring in China’s capital.

The fashion set is taking sides, too.

This story first appeared in the August 5, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Donatella Versace hosted a cocktail party for 800 people on Wednesday night at the Sanlitun Village mall housing Versace’s Beijing flagship. The designer, clad in a shimmery skintight dress, held court with Chinese celebrities like actress Lin Peng. Soccer players, including Luis Figo, Giampaolo Pazzini and Samuel Eto’o donned pinstriped suits as well as shirts and ties in monochromatic blue. Versace recently inked a deal to dress the team off the pitch.

“I’m very excited about dressing my favorite football team,” Versace said. “First of all, they’re not built like regular men, so you have to think of the shape of the suits.”

Meanwhile, Dolce & Gabbana, which is a sponsor of AC Milan, is holding its own in-store cocktail party in Beijing today to present a book called “Milan Fashion Soccer Players Portraits,” filled with black-and-white portraits of the players taken by photographer Marco Falcetta. Although the designers aren’t making the trip to China, the players are expected to put in an appearance.

Versace arrived in Beijing on Wednesday, and will stay through the weekend match. She’s no stranger to the Chinese capital, having just been here in December for a viewing of the Sanlitun flagship.

“I always enjoy it here in Beijing,” she said. “The Chinese are becoming more and more fashionable all the time.”

Of course, the week’s events aren’t just about soccer, but about drawing Chinese consumers to the brands. Versace said China remains a bright beacon in the global market, and the company will move forward with expansion plans here in the coming years.

“For us, China is the most optimistic place,” she said. “We absolutely see amazing growth here.”

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