Donatella Versace

DOTING ON DONATELLA: A crowd of Versace-clad fans headed to Harrods Monday afternoon to meet Donatella Versace at the signing of her book “Versace.”

The designer didn’t keep her admirers waiting, arriving promptly at 1 p.m. to greet 100 men and women, with some decked in the brand’s boisterous apparel. Some shoppers started gathering as early as 11 a.m., as only the first 50 customers who visited the boutique would have a chance to meet briefly with Versace and to have their book signed and picture taken.

Dressed in head-to-toe black , she sat behind a desk inside the Versace boutique in the International Designer room of the Knightsbridge retailer.

“I have always created stories through images, in both collections and advertising campaigns, and I’ve always been in charge of the image-making for Versace,” she said. “The book highlights this aspect of my creative process.”

Versace said working on the book took about two years and added it was difficult to choose from the various images shot by numerous photographers she has worked with. She also insisted that the book feature lots of pictures of Audrey — her beloved Jack Russell.

“I love the first chapter,” said Versace, about her favorite part of the book. “It is a sort of family album with an essay written by Ingrid Sischy, a dear friend for many years.”

Published by Rizzoli and written by Versace, Maria Luisa Frisa and Stefano Tonchi, the 288-page volume is priced at $95. The book delves into Versace’s career after she took the helm following her brother Gianni’s murder. It features runway footage, backstage photography and images from Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Steven Meisel. It also features celebrities who have worn the brand on the red carpet including Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista.

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On Sunday night, Versace held a talk at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum where she unveiled some of her challenges and fears as a designer. She will continue her book tour with events in New York and Milan, where she will host a signing at the Versace flagship in New York, followed by an event at Milan’s Piccolo Teatro.

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