It wouldn’t be Fashion Week if the Europeans weren’t descending to promote something or pick up an award or simply swan about, then disappearing just as quickly as they’d come. Following in the wake of the Alber Elbaz’s New York flyby was Donatella Versace, who somehow managed to get Mischa Barton and Demi Moore to take time off from their busy showgoing schedules to pop into the Versace flagship earlier this week, hitting the private sixth-floor space for Versace’s luncheon. The event was held in honor of Versace’s HIT bag, a hot leather number that was Donatella’s favorite from this year’s line, and the fashion house’s first ever Official “It” Bag. (Guess they’ve learned from Balenciaga that if you name something the most awesome bag of the season, the orders will simply come.)
The afternoon started out with socialites gleefully grabbing at their new goodies, which came in a choice of black, red, silver, and camel (not available in stores). Very pregnant socialite Veronica Beard happened to pick the one bag Donatella had stuffed with a diamond watch, lucky girl. Then guests settled in for branzino served over a bed of corn and soy beans, served on Donatella’s personal china (a Versace design, naturally), which she’d flown in from Milan just for the occasion. As Donatella explained to us later, “Food is one of the last luxuries, and great table settings give you satisfaction.”
The luncheon, for us, presented a particularly embarrassing situation. The night before, Donatella had hosted a private fashion show, followed by a Q&A with Hal Rubenstein, in which she doled out more absolute proclamations on style, including the one thing no woman should ever wear in public: flat shoes. “I prefer women in high heels,” she told us. “I think people walk better and more feminine. Flats make you walk duck-footed.” Of course, we were mortified — with all the running around we’ve been doing, our feet don’t fit into anything but flat shoes anymore. And to make matters worse, The New Yorker’s Lauren Collins — who’s been hanging round with the blonde goddess for months in preparation for her upcoming profile — came to the luncheon in four-inch heels.
Back at our table, Tinsley Mortimer was admitting that she hadn’t taken off her false eyelashes from the night before. Then she and Lisa Hellman, Versace’s très chic and pregnant publicist, bonded over how much Donatella touches other people when she talks. And if it seems like Demi Moore and her “curtains of hair” (as the Fug Girls like to put it) have been attending shows at random, that might not be far from the truth. Asked about her Fashion Week schedule, Moore drew a blank and started laughing. “I don’t know. I’m a little overwhelmed.” —Jada Yuan