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COUTURE COLLABORATIONS: After cocreating an elaborate jeweled dress to benefit amfAR during the Cannes Film Festival, designer Alberta Ferretti and Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele, Chopard’s co-president and creative director, have joined forces again. This time, they have designed a white gold and diamond watch embellished with drop diamonds circling the case and a satin bracelet. The couture piece will be presented during the opening evening of the Venice Film Festival on Aug. 27 and will be worn by a celebrity whose identity is being kept under wraps. The watch will auctioned at the Golden Globes amfAR event on Jan. 11.

This story first appeared in the August 4, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

TWIST AND SHOUT: Alain Mikli has always believed that the eyes should attract attention and welcome conversation. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of his bold and novel eyewear, the designer has re-created his Twist collection from the Eighties. Selling for about $545, the neon-colored acetate styles are available at Mikli’s store at The Mall at Short Hills in Short Hills, N.J., and at his New York boutiques, as well as select specialty retailers across the country.

“While the past 30 years have been very busy and fulfilling, it also feels like they flew by,” Mikli said. “I became very nostalgic during this time and decided to rework a few cult favorites from the Eighties that were my first loves. The end result: a collection that brings pleasure to the eye.”

NET BAGS: Stefanibags.com, an e-commerce site specializing in handbags, will bow Aug. 25. The company was founded by Buenos Aires-native Monica Prestia, who is the third generation in her family to become involved in the leather business. Prestia, who now lives in Manhattan, will feature designers such as Alexis Hudson, Olivia Harris and Jalda on her site. Prices for bags on the site range from $200 to $850 and there will be a blog and features talking about Prestia’s latest and favorite bag designers. “We plan to share our insights on the essentials of personal style through feature stories on runway and street fashion,” said Prestia. “Our designer interviews will give the Stefanibags customer a peek at the mind-set and inspiration of how today’s handbag designer makes her aesthetic choices.”

EXOTIC ACCESSORIES: Botkier is showing its skin. This holiday season, the accessories firm is taking its popular Bianca bag — owned by the likes of Lindsay Lohan and Heather Graham — and launching a limited edition version in python, available only by special order. The bags come in two sizes — small, retailing at $2,600, and medium at $3,200 — and are available in gold, white, black and chocolate brown. The original leather Bianca was introduced in spring 2006 and retails for $595. “The bag has proven to be a favorite with our customers and therefore we wanted to do something special for our Bianca fans,” said Monica Botkier, Botkier’s creative director and president.

FRANKLY, MY DEAR: Paul Frank Industries, the apparel brand known for its iconic monkey emblem, has signed a licensing agreement with Fab Starpoint, a New York-based kids’ accessories specialist, to produce a line of Paul Frank backpacks, bags, luggage, wallets, school supplies and stationery. The line is set to hit shelves at some 10,000 doors for the back-to-school season. Bags will range from $14.99 to $29.99, and stationery from $1 to $20. Fab Starpoint president Steve Russo said Paul Frank is “an untainted brand that has been very widely accepted by the consumer base for many years.”

Russo estimates the Paul Frank accessories will generate $7 million to $8 million in first-year wholesale sales.

OZONE LAYER: Laurie Mallet got into the sock business believing legwear was the essence of fashion as self-expression. “Socks can be a great communication tool,” said Mallet, whose New York-based Ozone Design Inc. has created the Cut Up Jambière line of over-the-knee fashion socks that can be shortened to any length. Remnants from the sizing can be worn as arm- or handwarmers. The jambière — French for legging — will retail for $35 in bright-colored and striped cotton; $45 for thick mohair in blue, green and black, or $30 for lace jambière in a floral pattern. They are made in Mallet’s native France and will launch for fall and winter. “It’s part of the trend of people doing their own thing,” added Mallet, whose socks are sold in 2,000 U.S. specialty stores.

NEW HIRE AT GHURKA: Accessory Network Group has named Nicholas P. Gamarello as vice president and creative director for Ghurka, known for its upscale leather goods geared for travel and the sporting lifestyle. Gamarello was most recently senior vice president and design director for I.C. Isaacs, Marithé & François Girbaud. Gamarello will look to broaden the brand to become a full-fledged lifestyle name with various categories under the Ghurka umbrella. He is planning to launch five collections for early 2009, including a women’s high-end collection and a travel-geared Expedition collection. These new silhouettes and designs will be offered in addition to Ghurka’s existing classic collections. “I believe Ghurka embodies the spirit of adventure and travel, creating a springboard to evolve the brand to its ultimate potential in full regalia,” said Gamarello.


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