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Donatella Does the Whitney

Shakira, JHud, and LiLo Come Along for the Ride

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Donatella Versace and Mischa Barton   
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For the second year running, Donatella Versace lent her party-hosting skills to the Whitney Museum of American Art's fall gala. And once again, she brought a little bit of everything in the door, from big-presence pop stars (Jennifer Hudson, Shakira) to leading men (Gerard Butler) to just-wanna-have-fun blondes like Lindsay Lohan and Taylor Momsen.

"She's just cool, everyone knows that. She's got that sexy vibe and she lives it," Mischa Barton explained. Of course, the big-name artists who dropped by (Chuck Close, Ellsworth Kelly) would probably be supporting the Whitney either way. But Marilyn Minter, for one, was thrilled to see the museum partnering with the bombshell designer—she shot her first commercial work for Versace, after all. "I was very scared, but they were happy," the photographer and video artist recalled. "I had Devon Aoki spewing water like a fountain and putting her hands in nail polish, playing with it like it was gum."

After dinner, Versace joined a younger crowd that included Leigh Lezark and Alexa Chung in the lower gallery. It didn't involve tubs of polish, but her choice of escort for the evening, Jet Li, was also an inspired experiment of sorts. How many designers out there swan into a party on the arm of a Buddhist teetotaler action-movie star? "He's such a gentleman, such a calm person. It makes you feel secure," Versace cooed, adding that she hadn't picked up any of Li's famous martial arts skills. "I think it's difficult," she mused. "You need a discipline that I don't have." Too bad, because we'd line up for a movie that featured Donatella executing a few killer aerial kicks.

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