STELLA’S TOUR: Stella McCartney got up-close-and-personal with her best Neiman Marcus customers on Wednesday, first with a Mad Hatter-themed luncheon in Beverly Hills, which 40 guests, including childhood pal Rashia Jones and her dad Quincy, wove through a hedge maze to get to. “Quincy is salivating, he can’t believe his luck at being the only man here with all the ladies,” she said. The tables were laden with mini Etch A Sketches, Viewfinders and Magic Eight Balls, which the designer promptly requested she be able to take home for her kids. “I even want to take home the hedges,” she said. Later, McCartney made her way down to Newport Beach’s Fashion Island (“Can you imagine there is such a place?” she asked) for an English pub dinner complete with an old wooden bar, pool table and dartboards. After loosening up, about 250 ladies were having their handbags autographed and snapping photos with McCartney, who greeted each one personally.
NEIGHBORLY CONDUCT: Diamond jeweler Graff and luxury brand J.Mendel doubled up for a good cause. On Wednesday night, the two brands, which are neighbors on Madison Avenue, hosted a night of shopping benefiting Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Kids in Playland. The likes of Jennifer Creel, Lisa Airan and Coralie Charriol — all dressed in J.Mendel — perused the jewels, furs and dresses at either store. While the guests of the joint party were identical, the vibes were decidedly different in the two stores. “It’s very chic in here, everyone is drinking Champagne,” mused designer Gilles Mendel to Henri Barguirdjian, president and chief executive officer of Graff America. “At my store there’s vodka.”
MOTHER’S DAY SPECIAL: Few mother-and-son relationships are as iconic in fashion as the one between Michael Kors and his mom, Joan. On Thursday, the point was driven home, or at least to Bergdorf Goodman, when the two hosted a private luncheon for 36 American Express Centurion and Platinum members in honor of Mother’s Day. During the lunch at the store’s BG eatery, Amex cardholders got to see 22 looks from Kors’ fall collection, with the designer offering quips and anecdotes about himself and the specialty store. “I wanted to do a trunk show, but I didn’t even know what that meant,” he recalled. “But I knew Bill Blass did them.” He clearly knows all about them now. Post-lunch, he joined the cardholders in the third-floor Kors boutique, where he helped them make their fall orders.
MORE CANNES BLING: Visitors to the Cannes Film Festival next week definitely won’t be lacking in glamorous parties. In addition to the annual star-studded affair for amfAR and bashes hosted by Dior, Bottega Veneta and Alberta Ferretti, fashion heiress Margherita Maccapani Missoni is having her own fete for friends like Jade Jagger and Mischa Barton. Missoni, who is the brand ambassador for her family’s house, will host the party aboard the Pegasus yacht on May 16 along with Brit concierge company Quintessentially. The event will raise money for OrphanAid Africa, an organization Missoni has worked with since taking a trip to Ghana four years ago (she is currently the Italian president of the charity). As part of the initiative, a specially designed $640 diamond, rose gold and silk bracelet by Greek designer Ileana Makri will be sold at the event — the same baubles sported by Missoni and Barton at the recent Costume Institute Gala in New York. A $240 version will be widely available on the Web site yoox.com.
FEELING BLUE: Artist Teresita Fernández’s installation, which will turn the Louis Vuitton store on Union Square in San Francisco into an official “Maison” for the luxury company, will add a touch of blue to the environs. That’s because Fernández’s piece, called “Hothouse (Blue),” consists of a large piece from translucent blue glass overlaid with some 16,000 cabochon mirrors. The effect is dazzling, in the literal sense. “I wanted the piece to activate the space so that viewers entering the store could look up and catch shimmering, reflective glimpses of passersby and atmospheric conditions seen through the windows,” Fernández said. Louis Vuitton will fete the new Maison, which joins existing ones in Paris, New York, Hong Kong and Taipei, with a reception and a private dinner on May 21.
CARTIER’S ART: The Cuban artist Wilfredo Prieto is the recipient of 2008’s Cartier Award at Frieze Art Fair, which provides funds for an artist to produce a major new work at Frieze, which will be held in London in October.
Barcelona-based Prieto will produce a site-specific installation for the fair called Pond, which will employ more than 100 opened oil drums, with a frog placed in among them. Prieto, who studied at the Instituto Superior de Arte de la Universidad de Habana, was selected for the award from more than 400 entrants. The award, which is open to artists based outside the U.K., also provides a three-month residency at the Gasworks studios in South London.
GIRLS ALOUD TO SPARKLE: After Roberto Cavalli fitted out the Spice Girls for their world tour, now Julien Macdonald will lend his spangles to costumes for the British band Girls Aloud’s current U.K. tour. While Girls Aloud may not have made as much of mark in the U.S. as the Spice Girls, the five-piece group — who were discovered on the TV talent show “Popstars” — are a regular feature in the U.K.’s tabloids. Macdonald has created two sets of costumes for the tour, which began last week in Belfast. One comprises sparkling, gold minidresses, and the other is a science fiction-inspired collection of structured metallic corsets worn with knee-high boots.