party lines

Donatella Versace Won’t Do an H&M Diffusion Line

Photo: Getty Images

Don’t expect a Versace diffusion line at H&M while Donatella heads the label. She told the crowd at the New York Times’ TimesTalk series yesterday that though she’s been asked to do a lower-priced line, she refused. “I respect everyone who does it,” she said. “But the reason I didn’t do it is because I work very hard to put the Versace line in the luxury section. I think to put the Versace line in H&M would confuse the brand.” The talk was a rare opportunity to see Versace with her guard let down. She explained why she started wearing very tight leather clothes. “I think I was very shy,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of pain in my life. And sometimes I did that so people wouldn’t get too close to me.” That pain stemmed from the death of her brother Gianni, which she numbed with drugs during what she called a very lonely time in her life. “Nobody is superwoman or superman,” she said. “You need to say, ‘I have a problem.’ And everything gets better.”

And did you know Donatella wasn’t always so blonde, tan, and blingin’? It’s true! When she was growing up in Italy, Gianni dressed her up like a doll and took her to clubs. “Gianni told me, ‘Why don’t you do some highlights?’ By eleven and a half, I was a little blonde. By 14, I was blonder. By 16, I was platinum,” she said. Versace also reminisced about her visit to the White House Correspondents’ dinner, where she had hoped to meet Barack Obama. But she did meet President Bush, whom she called a “very simple man.”

Donatella caught us off guard when she said that of all the foreign markets she has stores in, from China to Russia to Dubai, she feels most at home in America. She noted, “America is still the most important market. If you can make it in America, you can make it in the world.” It’s nice someone has faith in our economy. But she didn’t go without sharing her sense of humor. When asked who she’d like to be reincarnated as in her next life, she paused for a moment and grinned. “Maya Rudolph,” she answered, naming the Saturday Night Live cast member who memorably satirized her over-the-top persona. She also says you should never let a rapper have more bling than you. Man, we wish she was on Facebook so we could friend her right now. — Maridel Reyes

Donatella Versace Won’t Do an H&M Diffusion Line