Donatella gives ill children the chance to be a Versace designer for a day

It's an opportunity most fledgling designers would give anything for. Donatella Versace gave youngsters the chance to design a special one-off piece for her Italian fashion house during a fundraising art workshop in New York this week.

Hundreds of youngsters with life-threatening illnesses were asked to create drawings which will be fashioned into one-of-a-kind Versace canvas tote bags. These will be sold in the label's boutiques to raise funds for children's charities.

Supervising the mini designers was the platinum-haired designer herself, offering words of encouragement as she moved from table to table.

The craft day was the brainchild of Donatella, who wanted to set up an initiative to provide relief for needy children in both the US and China.

Last year she travelled to the earthquake-hit region of south west Sichuan in China to visit to visit a children's school and counselling facility in Sanjiang which her fashion house is supporting.

The mum-of-two teamed up with The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor actor Jet Li and the One Foundation to help young people, after news of the disaster left her feeling "obliged to do something".