It isn’t just anyone who can cook up a dinner party of artists, designers, rock stars and the like, and Ingrid Sischy did just that the other night at Barocco in honor of Gianni Versace and his new book, “Designs.” “I just threw it together,” said Sischy, looking around the room, filled with the likes of Philip Taaffe, McDermott and McGough, Joan Jett, John Bartlett, Crystal Waters and Naomi Campbell. “I didn’t start planning until last Thursday.”
She didn’t finish planning until halfway through dinner — or so it seemed when Sting showed up just as the main course was coming out, then table-hopped his way through dessert. Madonna was more punctual. She came early enough to sit on Steven Meisel’s lap and chat a bit before dinner. She also took time to show off her Anna Sui top to its creator. Clothes- horse that she is, she said she hated shopping.
“I have my friends do it all for me,” she said. Madonna was wearing her producer hat that night; in tow was the young rap artist Joy, her latest find, whom she introduced cryptically to Versace as “someone I’m working with.”
Raquel Welch made it in the nick of time, having helped emcee the Broadway Cares Easter Bonnet competition that afternoon. Isaac Mizrahi was there early but was so tired he didn’t think he could make it to dessert. He wasn’t too sure about his look, either. “Don’t I look like I’m dressed in Donna Karan?” he asked, motioning to his outfit.
Versace came early and stayed late, but he left the following morning, heading back to Miami.
“What no one knows is that I work like a nut when I’m there,” he said. “I have two assistants, a secretary and Donatella. We work all morning, and then we go out and have some sun.”
He confessed that he prefers the boating life to the beach these days. But don’t look for him at the helm of a 50-footer anytime soon.
“I’m not like Valentino,” said Versace. “I’d rather have a Picasso on the wall than a huge yacht.”
Or maybe he’d rather have a Philip Taaffe. After dinner, Versace and the artist went to Taaffe’s studio where he got a preview of some of the work that will appear at the artist’s upcoming exhibition.