IN THE CANNES: Karl Lagerfeld has been snapping up a storm, preparing for a major exhibition of photography in tandem with the Cannes film festival next month. The likes of David Lynch and Isabelle Huppert posed for portraits by Lagerfeld, along with 58 other film folk, the majority of them French. The designer plans to be in Cannes May 23 for a party in his honor, but don’t expect to see him mounting the festival’s famous steps. “I’m not a red-carpet person,” he joked.
Still, Lagerfeld couldn’t avoid the spotlight Monday in his native Germany following the revelation, first published in Der Spiegel, that a radical left-wing group had considered kidnapping him in the Seventies. A member of the militant Red Army Faction told the magazine that it had a list of possible ransom targets, including Lagerfeld. It was not clear why the plan was never carried out. Nevertheless, the designer spent the weekend ducking requests for commentary from German newspapers, some of which ran the story above the fold.
SUITE TIME: Swatch Group is getting in on the hotel game. The Biel, Switzerland, company has formed a venture with China’s Jin Jiang International Hotel Management Co. to purchase the 78-year-old Peace Hotel in Shanghai. Swatch said it would control 90 percent of the hotel. It estimated renovations would cost $30 million and take up to two years. The south wing of the Art Deco hotel will include an arts center, restaurants and stores for Swatch-owned brands Omega, Blancpain, Breguet and Swatch. Brands such as Bulgari, Fendi and Armani all have announced plans to open their own hotels.
YSL [HEARTS] PARIS: Yves Saint Laurent has always been synonymous with Paris — so much so that the house even has a legendary fragrance named after the City of Light. So when it came to the premiere of the movie “Paris Je t’aime,” which will be at the Paris Theatre next Tuesday, it seemed like a natural move for the French brand to want to participate. The movie features 18 shorts by 18 directors about the different Paris arondissements, and Maggie Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman, who both star in vignettes, will cohost the premiere with First Look Pictures and YSL. The after party will take place at YSL’s 57th Street boutique, with a portion of proceeds from sales of the new “Downtown” totes to be donated to Anthology Film Archives. The actresses will then host a private dinner. The venue? Chat Noir, a French bistro on the Upper East Side, of course.
LILY ONLINE: Since starlet Lily Allen came to prominence via MySpace, it’s fitting her debut fashion collection should have a cyber start, too. British High Street retailer New Look launched a Web site on Monday spotlighting Allen’s inspirations for the line, which launches May 9, and a blog penned by the British songstress. And while she’s going head-to-head with Kate Moss’ debut effort for Topshop, which will bow May 1, Allen is eschewing the superslick look used by her celebrity stylist rival and opting for a more girlish approach. Sketches of dresses are pasted alongside a pink, padlocked journal, titled “Lily’s Diary,” which is adorned with hearts and skull and crossbones. Pieces include a red ruffled prom dress in floral prints; a strapless ruffled chiffon dress, and a floor-length sundress with Allen’s song titles embroidered onto it. The collection, which will bow in New Look stores in the U.K., France, Dubai and Kuwait, among other markets, will retail from $24 for sneakers to $110 for a ruffled chiffon dress. Allen is also set to host a party May 8 at New Look’s Oxford Street flagship to launch the line, at which she’s rumored to perform a clutch of her hits.
HELPING OUT: African drumming and dancing kept the crowd, including Macy Gray and Mena Suvari, moving Thursday night at the MaxAzria boutique in Los Angeles, where jeweler Lori Leavitt launched a lion-themed Panthera Collection. All proceeds from the collection’s silver and gold rings, cuff links and bracelets go to H.E.L.P. Malawi, a foundation to support children of the impoverished African nation. “The lion represents courage,” said Leavitt. “We wanted everyone to understand what these kids are going through.” Swaying to the drumbeats in a billowy green metallic dress from MaxAzria’s fall collection, Lubov Azria praised Leavitt’s commitment, but admitted she has never visited Malawi. Typically, she said, traveling for the Azria family is a spiritual quest. “We went to India to the missions, and my husband opened the first synagogue in China,” she recounted. This summer, however, Azria has more domestic plans in mind: “I’m just spending time with my kids,” she said. As if on cue, her daughter Chloe, on the opposite end of the packed woody store, implored, “Where’s my mother?”
SPECIAL STREET: Regent Street, home to global brands including Tommy Hilfiger, Brooks Bros. and Timberland, is celebrating 180 years of shopping with an exhibition that runs until June 30. “A Mile of Style,” at London’s Guildhall Art Gallery, is showcasing vintage items ranging from Twiggy dolls, to Aquascutum coats, to a Jaeger wool jersey nightdress with a lace collar from the days when the street was dominated by British names.
Curator Georgia Vossou, a conservator for the City of Westminster Archives Centre, said the idea for the show dawned on her — appropriately — during a shopping spree. “I was playing with this idea of creating an exhibition so I could make the history of Regent Street more accessible,” she said. With the help of Vivien Knight, curator at the Guildhall Art Gallery, she worked on the project for a year.
The show traces the architectural history of the street, and the shops that have come and gone — such as a barbershop called the Taj Mahal. Long-standing Regent Street stores Jaeger, Aquascutum, Austin Reed and Hamleys donated a big chunk of their own archives to the show. Regent Street was the brainchild of the Prince Regent, later King George IV, and designed by the 19th-century architect John Nash. It wasn’t long before the street’s name became synonymous with upscale fashion and sophistication. The street is undergoing a $1 billion development program led by The Crown Estate.