VERSACE REVS UP: Versace has partnered with Lamborghini to launch a limited edition line of men’s travel accessories to complement the two companies’ other collaboration: the Murciélago LP 640 Roadster Versace. The handmade, black calfskin pieces, ranging from $395 to $5,500, will be sold exclusively in the New York and Beverly Hills boutiques. To celebrate their U.S. launch, Details writer Ian Daly and race car driver Dario Franchitti will co-host a party Wednesday at the Rodeo Drive boutique.
ROLL CALL: Numerous fashion folk were awarded Legion of Honors Monday. Marie-Louise Grog, better known as Carven Grog, founder of the Carven fashion house, was named a commander of the French Legion of Honor. Shoe and accessory maker Robert Clergerie was made an officer, as was Nelly Rodi — founder of the eponymous trend tracking agency — and Agnès Troublé, (aka agnès b., of the fashion label of that name). Their names appeared on a list of beneficiaries published by the French government on April 12 as part of the country’s traditional Easter Day promotions.
Meanwhile, in recognition of their contribution to national culture, the French government will today decorate six artisans from across the luxury industry. Receiving the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres are Jean-Claude Weinacker, head of production at Baccarat; François Pigou, director of high-end jewelry development at Cartier; Louis Vuitton’s leather goods maker Jean-Michel Poiraud; Van Cleef & Arpels jeweler Jean Bourdillat, and Jacques Péters, who is cellar chief at Champagne Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin. Jacques-Philippe Bedou, head of fur quality at Christian Dior Couture, will be decorated with the higher rank of Officier des Arts et des Lettres. Christine Albanel, the French Minister of Culture and Communication, will decorate the craftsmen.
MUSEUM FETE: Amsale Aberra, founder, co-chief executive and creative director of Amsale Design Group, will be the guest of honor at The Studio Museum in Harlem’s annual spring luncheon on April 23 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Manhattan. Thelma Golden will be on hand to fete Aberra, who recently added the Kenneth Pool collection to her designer responsibilities.
SEEING RED: Looks from the Heart Truth Red Dress collection are back for an encore this week. From Wednesday through Friday, six of the garments, which raise awareness about women’s heart disease, will be displayed at Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall, as part of a six-city road show arranged by Diet Coke and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Passersby can take in the designs by Marc Jacobs, Badgley Mischka, Donna Karan, Carmen Marc Valvo and Jenny Packham and receive free heart health screenings and a consultation with a dietician. They can also enter to win Diet Coke’s heart health ambassador Heidi Klum’s hourglass-shaped charm made of rubies and diamonds, which she designed for the initiative.
PARAPHERNALIA: When your family is a leading manufacturer of rolling papers, it follows that you’d have a knack for provocative accessories. Such is the case for Michael Saiger, the-model-cum-designer who is launching a line of military-inspired men’s jewelry this fall. His family owns the North American operations of Bambu, whose rolling papers were immortalized in 1972 by famed stoner comedians Cheech and Chong, who titled their second album “Big Bambu.” But Saiger’s line, called Miansai, offers accessories you wear as opposed to smoke.
The collection of World War II-style medallion pendants and striped grosgrain cuffs seems better suited for a wannabe solider than hazed-out hippie. But the jewelry also has an illicit edge. Consider the bullet pendant that unscrews to reveal a hidden compartment, or the razor blade necklace. “If I’m designing something, I’ll realize, ‘Oh, I can make this into a pill holder,’” said the 23 year old, who also has a contract with Wilhelmina Models. But he denied the pieces were intended for illegal activity. “If I can make it functional and kind of funny, then I will. They are really conversation pieces.”
RING BELL: Usually celebrities are happy to lend their names to an invitation if all they have to do is show up, but Lake Bell went over and above the call of duty for her childhood pal, designer Lyn Devon, co-hosting both a dinner at Nathan Turner’s Los Angeles studio and a trunk show at Arcade last week. The actress even called each person on the guests lists. “I said, ‘If you like me, you will love her.’” Her strategy worked, drawing Eva Longoria Parker, Shiva Rose, Ivana Milicevic and Guinevere van Seenus on Monday and Rashida Jones, Kelly Rutherford and Joy Bryant on Tuesday. But Bell shouldn’t think about quitting her day job for celeb wrangling anytime soon. She’s currently filming an untitled Nancy Meyers comedy with Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin in which she plays Streep’s nemesis, and is beginning work on the new HBO series “How to Make it in America.”
HINDMARCH EXPANDS: Anya Hindmarch is expanding globally with new partners in the Middle East and Asia. The British ready-to-wear and accessories brand has opened a unit at Villa Moda in Dubai, and plans to open three more stores this year — in Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar — also with Villa Moda. In addition, the brand has a new franchise partner in Hong Kong and Taiwan: the Bluebell Group. Anya Hindmarch has more than 50 stores worldwide, and Hong Kong was the first to be opened outside the U.K., in 1995. The brand now has three stores in Hong Kong and four in Taiwan, and new openings in both places are planned this year. The brand’s previous franchise partner in the region was Golife.