The fashion industry will giveth and taketh away — a refrain Jenny McCarthy knows well after hosting the 1998 MTV European Music Awards in Milan, where top honors rolled out to the Spice Girls and Madonna.
“All the Italian designers were reaching out,” she recalled in an exclusive interview with WWD ahead of her return to “The Masked Singer” on Sept. 27. “I chose Versace for half the show and Dolce & Gabbana for the other half.”
McCarthy said after the show ended she planned to meet up with Donatella Versace at her home for an after party, where Madonna was set to entertain guests — but it was another designer, Dolce & Gabbana cofounder Stefano Gabbana, who made it an unforgettable night.
“I was higher than a kite, happy walking backstage when all of a sudden this guy starts walking toward me and says ‘hey,’ and my manager slash bodyguard pushed him against the wall because it looked like somebody was coming to grab me or something,” McCarthy recalled.
“I go in my dressing room and all of a sudden we hear this banging on the door, like crazy banging. And I open up the door and this man bursts into my room — it was the same man that was pushed against the wall — he’s like, ‘You don’t know who I am. I am Gabbana. I am Gabbana and you disrespected me.’ And he’s screaming at me, like livid, like red with veins coming out of his face.”
McCarthy said she apologized to Gabbana for the rough encounter, but the designer wasn’t leaving empty handed.
“He’s screaming at me and he’s like, ‘You’re going to take the dress off now.’ He leaves my dressing room and I’m just like, hysterical, like, ‘Oh my god, I cannot believe this is happening. This is the worst day of my life.’”
McCarthy said after he stormed out of her dressing room, moments later there was banging at the door.
“I opened it up and now he’s got the Italian police brigade with him. I s–t you not, he’s standing there with Italian police and he’s like, ‘Take off the dress.’ So I stripped off the dress and threw it out the door, and he goes, ‘and the bra’ — because it’s a Dolce and Gabbana bra — so I threw it out into the hallway. And he kept continuing to scream at me and then left, and I’m standing there, like naked in my dressing room (sobbing).”
“I was supposed to go to Versace’s house. Donatella invited me for a dinner at her house. I didn’t go. I was so devastated by Gabbana freaking out on me. I just wanted to go back to my hotel and curl into a ball, and I did. I just curled into a ball and cried, cried, cried, cried, cried, cried.”
After flying back to Los Angeles, the other half of Dolce & Gabbana, cofounder Domenico Dolce, had some words for her too, she said. “Two days later, I get a package in the mail and I open it up and it’s the dress and the bra. And it was from Dolce. And he goes, ‘I’m sorry Gabbana took this from you. Here’s the dress with our compliments.’”
The TV personality is looking forward to showcasing other designer looks for the premiere of Fox’s “The Masked Singer” on Sept. 27. “There’s designers like Marchesa, who always sets me up. I wear a few dresses coming up and yeah, [Georgina Chapman] has been great.”
Stylist Warren Alfie Baker collaborates with McCarthy on her wardrobe for the competition series, where she sits alongside fellow panelists Nicole Scherzinger, Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke, who all take their best guesses to name the incognito celebrity singers. Some items she will wear will come from her own closet.
“I spend a lot of my own money for my outfits because I just don’t want to wear, sometimes, a lot of showroom stuff or storage room stuff,” she said. “So a lot of times I’m forking out my own cash, but it’s worth it. I have a fantastic wardrobe later on.”