Versace for H&M at Pier 59 was a fashion show, of course, but really it was a party briefly paused by a runway show that was every bit as festive and splashy as the rest of the night. In a mirror-filled room with snaking gold catwalks, just as the show was about to start, Nicki Minaj and Prince paraded in under spotlights to take their seats. Minaj, in a wild outfit and palm fronds in her hair (a nod at the Versace signature print for the evening), garnered stares, but Prince received a round of applause and what seemed like five straight minutes of flashbulbs—not to mention he was probably the only person that could get stiletto-ed and mini skirt-ed audience members to stand up on their seats to gawk.
The music began—“What Else Is There” by Royksopp and “Animal Rights” from Deadmau5—as models stormed down the runway in all manner of neon, flashy prints, bedazzled dresses, zebra suits. “I think this is one of the best collections H&M has done,” said Susie Lau in a Versace for H&M skirt and a vintage Versace print jacket. “It’s kind of insane really. I mean, it rivals any sort of big fashion show. They made the pieces look really good and much more expensive than they really are. It’s really Donatella [who] made this whole thing so amazing.”
And it was Donatella herself, white-blonde hair glowing in the spotlights, who took a half loop down the runway to thunderous applause. And then almost like magic—there was no shortage of the theatrical—two giant doors parted and guests were ushered into a Versace print-covered, palm frond-filled, disco ball-blazing party room.
Guests narrowly avoided being crushed as they dashed for the stage (surely jockeying for a view of the Minaj and Prince performances) and celebs like Jessica Alba, Chase Crawford, Sofia Coppola, Uma Thurman and Ke$ha (who gave Versace’s bold designs a run for their money in a leopard print jumpsuit and her signature giant hair) were mashed in the melee like everyone else.
The champagne continued to flow—there were enough bottles of booze and vintage Versace floating around to sink a (fabulous) ship. Minaj hit the stage for a 30-minute set in bedazzled Versace, which was actually more subdued than her first outfit. While she, of course, was the center of attention, not only because of her "possessed Barbie" eyes but also the totally uncensored lyrics she kept spouting (“Couldn’t get Michael Kors if you was fuckin’ Michael Kors”), much of the crowd kept glancing at Donatella and her VIP contingent seriously rocking out to the show.
Prince took to the stage after a long intermission in sunglasses and red bedazzled tunic for an epic set that lasted until 12:30. The crowd barely thinned even as the night wore on—definitely because of Prince’s amazing performance, but certainly also for the promise of a first-crack to shop the Versace duds after the concert ended.
Sure enough, once the crowd was unleashed on the goods, it was an absolute madhouse—people ripping clothes off of displays, waiting for dressing rooms with arms loaded with clothes. With all of the alcohol flowing, it’s fortunate nobody came to blows. Though Minaj certainly would have gone to great lengths to protect her stash, telling the crowd after her performance, “After the next performer, you’re going to have to fight me back there for these clothes. I’m charging it, bitches!”
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