Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Elton's Versace Intervention
This party was a real surprise.
An 18th birthday bash for Donatella Versace's daughter was merely a ruse for an Elton John-led intervention that sent the cocaine-addled designer to rehab, a new book says.
"House of Versace," by Deborah Ball, details the June 30, 2004, soiree where Donatella was confronted about the drug use that threatened her life and her multi-million dollar company.
The "party" started with Versace slipping into a bathroom at her Milan mansion to snort a line of coke - just before John's surprise arrival, the book reveals.
The chart-topping rocker and longtime friend put the intervention in motion six weeks earlier after watching a sobbing and shaking Donatella at one of his concerts.
"You people are doing nothing but enabling Donatella by protecting her!" the singer railed at Versace's top assistant. "She's going to die if we don't do something!"
The showdown was timed to coincide with Allegra Versace's birthday, and the teen joined John in confronting her mother.
The plan worked. The drug-addicted designer climbed aboard a private plane that night and flew to The Meadows, a rehabilitation facility in Wickenberg, Ariz.
The 343-page book says that Donatella's appetite for cocaine left her paranoid, semi-coherent and erratic. Her wild mood swings frightened her two children.
The designer bottomed out during the debut of her men's collection just weeks before she cleaned up, the book reports.
During a dress rehearsal, Donatella sat on a sofa "so dazed that her bodyguards had to sit on either side of her to prop her up."
The emaciated design doyenne then held a rambling news conference so embarrassing that it led a longtime Versace executive to quit.
As her drug spiral worsened, Donatella snorted cocaine openly in front of employees, before fashion shows and at after-parties while security stood outside the bathroom door, the book said.
Her taste for the highlife grew along with her appetite for drugs, the book said. She flew only on private jets, hired $5,000-a-day stylists and used only the priciest models, like Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell.
Among her favorite drug buddies was Madonna's brother Christopher Ciccone, the book said, and the pair went on a three-day cocaine binge before a 1998 fashion show.
After a Metropolitan Museum of Art memorial service for her slain brother Gianni in 1997, Dontella also reportedly did lines of coke with Ciccone and rocker Courtney Love.