Saks Fifth Avenue hosted a conversation between Donatella Versace and Instagram’s Eva Chen at its midtown flagship last night. In the standing-room-only crowd were Lauryn Hill’s daughter Selah Marley; The Real Housewives of New York City’s Dorinda Medley; and Versace-clad Saks customers from as far away as California.
. Wearing a body-con minidress from the Spring 2018 Tribute collection—made to honor her late brother, Gianni—and sensationally high platform sandals, the gracious Donatella charmed them all. Saks, the store’s chief merchant Tracy Margolies revealed, has been a loyal supporter of the Versace label since 1986, when Gianni introduced it stateside at a Studio 54 debut. And Versace, Donatella confirmed, has been loyal right back. “Saks is New York. Since I was a young girl in university, my first trip, the first store I went to: Saks,” she said. “Saks is iconic, and so is Versace, so it’s a perfect combination.”
With the metal mesh dresses that Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Carla Bruni, and Helena Christensen wore for the “Instagram-breaking” finale of the house’s Spring ’18 show as a backdrop, Versace discussed the collection’s genesis. “After 20 years, I thought it was about time to give an homage to my brother . . . . In the ’90s, what Gianni did was extraordinarily brave; he was breaking rules . . . Gianni fought for his fashion. It was risky, it was different, but it was about empowering women. I thought that kind of thinking—empowering women—is very today. So it was appropriate to do the show. It was an homage to Gianni and an homage to all the women in the world,” she said. Donatella revealed that the young models had no idea the supers were in the show until after the finale: “Nobody knew until the last moment. Then one by one, Naomi, Helena, Cindy, Carla, Claudia . . . they walked by them to get into position. Everybody was crying, clapping. It was so good to see the respect they had for these iconic girls. I didn’t know it was going to break Instagram, but it did, right?”
In fact, Versace is a late adopter of Instagram, but she’s quickly racked up 2.5 million followers with her mix of high-glam red carpet shots, candid behind-the-scenes moments, and snaps of her terrier, Audrey. “She doesn’t want to be called a dog, but she’s a dog,” Versace said, laughing. “She’s always with me, at fittings . . . and she has an opinion on everybody.”