Women’s Wear Daily
04.19.2014
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Grazie Mille

Drawing out the fashion crowd in the middle of Milan's sweltering July heat is nothing short of a miracle, as Karl Lagerfeld put it Sunday night at La Scala.

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Dancers perform Grazie Gianni Con Amore in Versace gowns
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Drawing out the fashion crowd in the middle of Milan's sweltering July heat is nothing short of a miracle, as Karl Lagerfeld put it Sunday night at La Scala. But they had more than due cause: a performance of "Grazie Gianni, Con Amore," a ballet choreographed by Gianni Versace's longtime friend Maurice Béjart and costumed with new and vintage Versace gowns. The bold-faced crowd, including Santo Versace, Carla Fendi, the Missonis, Luisa Beccaria, Claudia Schiffer, Mariacarla Boscono, Quincy Jones and Jessica Alba, was enough to stop traffic outside the opera house.

"Her brother would have been very proud of what she did," Lagerfeld said, referring to Donatella Versace, who arrived with her children Allegra and Daniel. "I loved the dresses she added [to the original Gianni Versace ones]."

At the end of the hour-long performance, Donatella joined Béjart on stage, standing underneath a giant Richard Avedon photograph of Gianni, killed 10 years ago to the date of the tribute.

"After so many rehearsals, it was even more moving," Donatella said. Later, at the dinner held by the maison at Palazzo Reale, the designer stuck by Lagerfeld like a security blanket. "Karl was the designer my brother loved the most in the world, and it is a huge honor to have him here next to me," she said.

Her daughter Allegra remembered her first visit to La Scala with her late uncle. "It means a lot to be here tonight. I think the ballet was perfect. It really honored my uncle in all the right ways," she said, "and the way [Béjart] incorporated my mom's dresses was beautiful."

The evening left everyone feeling especially sentimental, including Naomi Campbell, who thought she was keeping her composure quite well until she did an interview with Italian television and "totally broke down," she said. "I miss him a lot. It's important that we remember him in the right way."
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