Redesigning the House of Versace for Lifetime

By Lindzi Scharf
Updated September 13, 2013 at 04:00 AM EDT

After her brother is murdered, a woman struggles to keep the family business afloat while battling drug addiction — House of Versace (Oct. 5 at 8 p.m.) has all the hallmarks of a Lifetime movie plus an überchic wardrobe. For costume designer Claire Nadon, that meant tracking down vintage Versace from the late ’90s and early 2000s while working with an actress (Gina Gershon) who rarely broke character once she began to channel fashion icon Donatella Versace. ”She’s a real Method actor. When she arrived for the first fitting, she had the Italian accent…and she was playing the diva.”

Tricks of the Trade ”I taught him how to drape [fabric]. He wanted to make it look real,” says Nadon of Veronica Mars‘ Enrico Colantoni, who plays the late Gianni Versace. ”He’s an actor, not a couturier.”

Designer Influence ”Donatella always tries to be flamboyant, sexy, to maximize her femininity….She wears a corset under everything, even T-shirts,” costume designer Claire Nadon says of turning Gina Gershon into the ever-blond and always bronzed Versace. Cinching the actress into more than 40 hourglass constrictions was just one step in a process that also involved up to two hours in the hair and makeup chair each day. ”It didn’t sell until she [put on] the wig.”

Clothes Call ”Three weeks before we started shooting, we had virtually nothing,” Nadon says of finding clothes for the movie’s fashion-show reenactments. Along with authentic finds from consignment stores and eBay, Nadon used her own Versace-inspired creations to dress the models.