CHILD’S PLAY: Forget crocodile, ostrich or ponyskin: Handbags scrawled with kids’ doodles are drawing big bucks. Seventeen Celine Poulbot bags customized by celebrity tots, including Madonna‘s daughter, Lourdes, went under the hammer Tuesday night in Paris to raise money for the children’s charity Rêves. “He didn’t understand why he couldn’t keep the bag,” said proud mom Audrey Marnay. But despite Marnay hijacking the microphone to up bids for her five-year-old son’s creation, the highest offer — $5,100 — was for actress Kristin Scott Thomas‘ son’s masterpiece that sported a racing car and a giant heart on the outside, and a Chaumet or Fred watch inside. The event raised some $55,000. Meanwhile, Celine will soon welcome a new international communications director: Josèphine Vèrine Gintzburger. She comes from L’Oréal’s Giorgio Armani division and joins June 12, succeeding David Au, who departed for Zegna.

HIS TURN: Bruno Pieters is the latest Belgian designer to make a foray into men’s wear, joining the likes of Ann Demeulemeester and Veronique Branquinho. Pieters will unveil his men’s line in tandem with the women’s shows in Paris this fall at his Rue Quincampoix showroom.

ROYAL SHOW: Jewels belonging to the late Princess Margaret will be unveiled for viewing at Christie’s in Rockefeller Plaza in New York starting Saturday. The display is the second-to-last stop in an international tour of the sparklers before they go under the hammer on June 13 at Christie’s in London. This will be the most important royal jewelry auction since Wallis Simpson’s gems went up for sale in 1987, and will feature the five strands of pearls Margaret received on her 18th birthday from her grandmother Queen Mary, and the Victorian diamond Politmore Tiara, which the princess wore on her wedding day in 1960. The sale, arranged by the princess’ heirs and children, David Linley and Sarah Chatto, will include silver, furniture and works of art from the princess’ collection, to be auctioned on June 14.

That phase of the sale, however, appears to have incited some controversy. On Wednesday, the Daily Mail reported that Lord Snowdon, Princess Margaret’s ex-husband — and the father of Linley and Chatto — fired off an angry letter to Christie’s regarding the sale of certain lots. They include watercolors and paintings by Snowdon’s uncle Oliver Messel, Britain’s most celebrated theatrical designer in the Thirties and Forties. However, a spokeswoman for Christie’s in London said the sale is going through as planned, and no lots have been withdrawn. The jewels will be on display in New York through June 7, when they’ll move to London for a final viewing before the auction — which is already oversubscribed.

This story first appeared in the June 1, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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