The good news is that Donatella seems to have a sense of humor about her caricature-like demeanor that inspires campy imitation.
In a tent next to the Beverly Hills City Hall, the real designer laughed as loud as her Versace-clad pals -- Demi Moore , Penelope Cruz, Ashton Kutcher, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Eva Longoria, Kayne West and Quincy Jones who were lounging on sofas in the cordoned-off celebrity petting zoo watching a videotape intro by Rudolph.
Dressed as Donatella, laying on a couch and flipping her cigarette ashes into a glass of champagne, Rudolph growled, "This is going to be one sexy night. It's our night to smoke, drink and look good, but no smoking in the tents! If you smoke in the tents, you will be told to GET OUT!"
Then she introduced the man "who gives Mama a fire down below, Rupert Everett."
Everett, longtime friends with the Versace family, recalled how Gianni (friends say Johnny, not Gee- ani) was inspired as a boy by women who worked in a house near his mother's atelier. The women wore garish clothes, lots of makeup and danced with each other in the streets, a far cry from the somber ladies who worked for his mom.
Turns out those painted ladies were hookers who worked in a brothel, which goes a long way to explaining Versace's ongoing successful trademark slutty style.
But the house of Versace was far from a house of ill repute, Everett said. "Supermodels Cindy and Naomi didn't get out of bed for less than $10,000."
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Cindy and Naomi took the stage to recall that magic moment in '91 when Gianni sent them, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista down his Milan runway, strutting to the tune of George Michael's "Freedom" while the singer watched from the front row.
"In that one moment, it felt like things were changing," said Crawford. I know it still sends shivers up my spine.
Next, Sharon Stone came out and, once again, managed to raise a very large amount of money for a limited edition Versace Lamborghini in a very short time.
Imitating Donatella's Italian accent and voice, she purred, "I want your cash... And I'm going to take it from your pocket... I want it hot and fast... Just put it in third, let it idle. This car, it's the Viagra of the future."
When the winning bidder proudly came onstage, Stone asked, "Do you like to drive fast?"
"Yes," he replied. "I also have a Versace coupe."
"Oh, you are so sexy," she cooed.
The money raised goes to Elton John's AIDS Foundation.
Before he sang and Axl Rose performed, John accepted Gianni's award and got teary recalling memories of his best designer friend.
"Not a day goes by that I do not think of Gianni. I use his towels, I wear his clothes and his cologne. I bought things from his house. (He also has a photo of Gianni in one of his bathrooms) He taught me so much. He introduced me to the joys of table linen and porcelain. On our first trip to Venice, I spent $100,000 on tablecloths. Later I turned him onto a brand of watches. And the next time I ran into him he said, 'You b*tch! You ruined my life!' He'd bought 17 watches in one go."
Ah, the good times.