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Edited by on November 17 2011 at 7:13 AM

Today marks the first day of international Versace mania as H&Ms in Europe and Asia opened their doors to hundreds of eager customers, many of whom spent the night to ensure their early birds captured the studded leather worms.

Donatella Versace herself crawled out of her crypt uncharacteristically before noon to pay a visit in London, decked out in a studded silk pink dress and studded black leather trench, her bleach blond hair casually swept over her oversized sunglasses. “I feel very emotional,” she told WWD. ”I really want to see how they are going to mix and pair the clothes, how they will wear them.”

Arriving at 8:30 am, when the line was already around the block, Donny also also expressed her approval of the quality of the garments that had produced such a clamor:  ”Do you see these studs? Usually, with low-cost clothing, they’re pressed on but these are real. And I only worked with pure materials – 100 percent silks and real leather.”

In Milan, a transportation strike did not deter Versace devotees from lining up while in Paris, the racks were picked clean within fifteen minutes. Some shoppers, however, were luckier than others as the night before, French Vogue‘s Emmanuelle Alt hosted a special preview shopping party for 1,000 winners of a contest the magazine had conducted.

Some 300 people lined up in Hong Kong for the store’s 8 am opening and in Berlin, lines started forming at 4 am.

In Shanghai, professional queuers waited on behalf of shoppers too smart and/or lazy to wait in line themselves. Mingling with migrant workers who were also paid as placeholders, a fight broke out amongst the predominately male stand-ins before doors opened. In fact, most of the customers in line were male, with some openly admitting they were there to snatch up as many covetable items as they could to re-sell online.

Besides that slight altercation, H&M’s well-organized, and well-documented, process has been rather smooth. But we’ll see once the doors open stateside this Saturday. [WWD]



Story by Lester Brathwaite

I was center square from 1969 to 1978, during which I perfected the art of the zing as well as a crippling cocaine addiction. Bea Arthur was responsible for both. @LesFabian lester at