The Versace family have long been patrons of the arts. And for the second year in a row, the design house will sponsor the Whitney Museum's Gala and Studio Party in October (co-hosted by Donatella, Penelope Cruz, and Liz Swig.) It's sure to be as fabulous an affair as last year, but that wasn't the point of the designer's trip to the museum Wednesday afternoon. Yesterday's festivities were actually way cooler than any celeb-filled event. Versace is also partnering with the Whitney's Education Department to create this awesome initiative called Art Unites which is focused on bringing all the good things that come along with creativity and inspiration to kids who need it the most.
So here's the deal: Versace is providing art supplies to kids involved with the Starlight Children's Foundation in the US and the One Foundation in China. These are amazing young people either dealing with a serious illness or the after effects of the earthquakes in the Sichuan province. Basically, a lot of kids working through issues tougher than most of us have ever known. Everyone involved with Versace's program gets to design a canvas in whatever way they like...and that canvas will then be turned into a tote to be sold in Versace stores and on Gilt Groupe come October. One lucky winner from Starlight and another from One will have their bags shown on the runway at Donatella's next show in Milan. How amazingly cool is that? Donatella told me that the choice is going to incredibly difficult to make, but that she and her small panel of judges will make the decision based on "emotion, not necessarily raw talent or creativity" and her hope is that "they [the young designers] are able to express what is inside that they are unable to with words." We're putting some money on 13 year-old Savannah (pictured here) who seems to be the perfect combo because she has a passion for clothes and some fairly wicked fashion sketching skills, basing her design on prom dresses. We love this project more than we can say and are so glad that we got to spend the afternoon with such a cool bunch. Thanks Versace. This truly is a perfect mix of art and fashion.