Saturday, October 06, 2007


I never got to know Gianni Versace, but in 1997 I happened to be in New York when there was an exhibition of Versace designs at the Metropolitan Museum, with a big gala after the show. I went with Kate Moss, who was wearing a beautiful old Versace number. It was the most amazing, glittering night out, but the real fun began afterwards,when a few of us went back to the Versace house with Donatella, whom I had never met before. There was me and Kate, and Rupert Everett and Cher, and a guy called Antonio who I think was one of Donatella's cutters, plus a handful of people I didn't know. The Versace house was exactly as I had imagined: impossibly grand and Romanesque. We ended up having a sort of wake for Gianni.

After everybody left, Kate, Donatella, Antonio, Cher and I sat around talking about death and drinking champagne. Kate decided that this should be a real wake and that we all had to sing. I sang an old Irish folk song and Donatella cried. And then Kate turned to Cher and said it was her turn. I've known Cher for many years; I first met her when we appeared on the TV rock show Shindig! in the 60s. She's a wonderful and genuine person, but not exactly spontaneous. So here we were in Nero's Palace, draped over these couches covered with Gianni's leopardskin fabrics, in a vast, marble hall with high, fluted columns, fountains and fresco'd ceilings. And Cher stood up, and my God she looked amazing, plastic surgery or not, and sang Danny Boy. By the time she had finished, we were all sobbing.

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