June 22 2012

Girl You Know It's True: My Days and Nights at the Versace Mansion

Miami-Stan D'Arde

This morning I awoke to some truly fabulous news in the Wall Street Journal, which sent me on a whirlwind trip down memory lane. Long before I was spending my winters in residence at The Standard Spa, Miami Beach, I was among the blessed few invited to enjoy the sun on the grounds of the Versace Mansion by my dear friend, Gianni.

It was a different, more genteel time then. The beach was a bit more quiet. The streets weren't filled with convertible Lamborghinis. Over tea at the Fashion Cafe, a boy like me could singlehandedly launch the men's leopard-print-thong trend. (Don't judge. It was the '90s, and Gianni always made me wear his latest collection.)

To say we had debaucherous nights in this courtyard would be saying too much. I would never, ever name names, of course, so let's just say it was here in this very pool that I finally learned what "underwater basket weaving" REALLY meant.

This was the bedroom in which I always stayed. Late one evening, as I was retiring to sleep, I walked in to find Naomi and Kate arguing with the frescoed violin player about which song he should play next. Naomi wanted to hear Madonna, but Kate insisted on The Doors. They went on like this for hours!

Back then, it was a true home and not a tourist attraction. The meals were family feasts, not served á la carte. If you're up for it, you, too, can now make the mansion your very own ... for a mere $125 million. Just don't forget to invite me back when you do. I'll show you the secret staircase hidden in the pantry.