What This Supermodel Did When Versace Cursed Her Out On The Runway

Photo: Jerrit Clark/Getty Images.
When said out loud, "Fashion Week" has a double meaning — and for anyone who's ever been a part of all the action, feeling weak is not only par for the course, it's often the reason we love fashion to begin with. So, in honor of the moments of chaos, beauty, and excitement that made us feel weak, we present My Fashion Week-ness: a compilation of accounts from some of the industry's biggest players. They're spilling their most memorable stories from Fashion Weeks gone by, and the ones that keep them coming back for more.

If you think models are a big deal now, you've likely forgotten what it was like when The Supers reigned. There were a lot of striking faces, standout personalities, and a fair share of scandalous headlines featuring Cindy, Naomi, Christy, Linda, Stephanie, Helena, Kate, and more. But one supermodel in particular, Carolyn Murphy, was a personal favorite of ours not only for what she did while she was in the industry, but also for what she did afterward. (Murphy put modeling on hold and headed for Costa Rica to, as she told Esquire in 2007, "pretend to be Jane Goodall," trading in her couture threads for a wet suit.)

These days, Murphy is juggling those two worlds, is now the face of Ugg and Oscar de la Renta, and continues to walk for today's top-tier designers. And, it goes without saying, that with a career that has spanned three decades, she's experienced her fair share of the absurd. Below, she recounts one of her biggest WTF moments: when she walked for Gianni Versace and got a big eff you to her face from him. Apparently, exchanges on the runway are sometimes akin to those on the football field.

Recalled Murphy, "If you wanted to talk about fashion nightmares, I still have them. And they usually pertain to runway. And it’s Gianni [Versace] screaming at me when I was the bride of the couture show back in the '90s, and there were two shows, and on the second show the seamstress had changed out, and she didn’t know to leave the front pinned up a little because he wanted me going fast down the runway.

"This is why I have dreams about getting yelled at. I have dreams about not showing up, or getting there too late, when my look is supposed to go out and I’m not there…. But in real life, yes, I got yelled at, because that seamstress had taken out that pin in the front, so I did a little bit of a stumble, tiny little bit. Didn’t fall, very graceful about it, and I was walking back, you know, it was fine, everybody’s clapping — woo! And I’m walking back toward him because he’s on the runway, and he’s like, 'Fuck you, bitch! Fuck you! You ruined my show! Fuck you!'

"And I looked to him, and I go, 'Well, fuck you, too! 'And I said it in an accent. And I turned around and I walked off! I walked off the stage. So the other girls were kind of standing there — Linda, and there were other girls, like Carla [Bruni]…and so then, I go and I rip everything off, and I was like, 'Oh, my God, what’s wrong with you people?' And then I start to cry, and Linda takes me in the stairwell, and is just like, 'You know, don’t be so upset, because he’s not really thinking.' And then I’m up in the room with Donatella and Naomi — who’s chain-smoking Marlboro Reds — and she’s like, 'Carolyn, he is very sick.' And then an hour later, at my hotel room at Hôtel Costes, I got a beautiful bouquet with massive, two dozen white roses, saying, 'I’m so sorry to fight on our honeymoon. Please make sure you still come to dinner,' and he sent the most beautiful dress. And, of course, it was fine. So even after that, I didn’t want to quit runway, because I loved it."

For all things Fashion Week around the world — including street style snaps, designer news, and the trends you'd actually wear — head over to Refinery29's Fashion Month hub.

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