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STAR GAZING: Claire Danes said she often wears Fred Leighton on the red carpet, but perhaps she’ll be thinking about adding Montblanc to her mix.

The actress, who hosted the brand’s centennial party last Tuesday night at the Newspace in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, was admiring the patented star-cut diamond unveiled at the event that could form the foundation of a future fine jewelry collection. Danes enjoyed the evening out, holding court on a set of banquettes in a beige Calvin Klein dress and talking up “Stardust,” her movie that will start filming this year, co-starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Illusionist Criss Angel, who set gasps through the crowd of 350 by swallowing a string and then pulling it out of the corner of his eyeball prior to the diamond unveiling, begged Danes to come on his show, “Mindfreak,” which kicks off its second season on A&E this spring. He was also working the crowd, talking up Tony Danza at one point. Danza, who said he came out in hopes of scoring a Montblanc pen, revealed that he’s one of the few remaining note writers.

“I’m Tony Danza, so everybody writes me back,” said the talk show host, before approaching the evening’s DJs and requesting that they turn the music down.

Jane Seymour was also showing off her hologram Montblanc pen, saying she uses it for her ink drawings, some of which may be included in the handbag collection she will launch on in the coming weeks.

Other revelers included Mandy Moore, Marcia Gay Harden, Ashanti, Giovanni Ribisi, Jonathan Rhys Meyer, Pras of the Fugees and Padma Lakshmi, many of whom showed up just in time for Lauryn Hill’s late-night performance.

WATCH OUT: Omega will be celebrating the opening of its first U.S. boutique, a 1,600-square-foot space on Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday.

The opening coincides with several milestones for the 121-year-old Swiss watchmaker. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Omega’s collaboration with Cindy Crawford, which will continue, and ushers in a new face for the brand, 16-year-old golfer Michelle Wie.

This story first appeared in the March 20, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Omega’s jewelry collection for women, launched in Switzerland last year, makes its U.S. debut at the Beverly Hills store, as does a line of watches created in homage to the world’s smoothest operator, James Bond. The Bond watches are slated to launch in July.

Finally, the company is restoring a timepiece owned by John F. Kennedy that it bought at auction for $420,000 this past December. The presidential relic will eventually make its home at Omega’s museum in Switzerland.

Besides the boutique in the U.S., Omega has 63 freestanding stores worldwide, primarily in Europe and Asia. Omega is considering New York for an additional location, according to U.S. brand director Gregory Swift.

TIFFANY TIMEKEEPING: A landmark show of 180 Tiffany & Co. jewels designed between 1837 and 1987 will open in June at The Gilbert Collection in London’s Somerset House.

“Bejeweled by Tiffany” examines the first 150 years in the American jeweler’s history and runs from June 24 until Nov. 26. In addition to the 180 works from the Tiffany archives, there will be a small selection of jewels on loan from private collections.

“Such an exhibition is well overdue,” said Timothy Stevens, director of the Gilbert Collection. “Tiffany’s creativity in the world of jewelry is not well known this side of the Atlantic, and it has long been my ambition to stage an exhibition that puts the record straight.”

The exhibit will feature iconic pieces, from the rippling American flag brooch fashioned from rubies, sapphires and diamonds, to the pearl necklace that president Abraham Lincoln bought for his wife, Mary, before the inaugural ball.

Earlier this month, Tiffany showcased its silversmithing heritage when it unveiled its trophy for the new Triple Crown of Polo, to kick off at the Sarasota Polo Club on March 26. The trophy, designed by the company’s craftspeople in its New Jersey workshop, comprises three separate trophies that represent each Triple Crown event and that come together to create a complete polo scene. Tiffany also created the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the National Football League, the Larry O’Brien National Basketball Association Championship Trophy and trophies for the World Series.

FRENCH DRESSING: Inspired by Sam Haskins’ 1975 narrative picture book, “Cowboy Kate,” French shoe designer Alexandra Neel decided to take her aesthetic one step farther for fall. “As I was designing the shoe collection, I kept imagining a complete look or silhouette of Kate [the book’s protagonist], which prompted me to expand into handbags,” said Neel, whose footwear sells at Bergdorf Goodman and Vivre. “I immediately started to sketch various chain handles, padlocks, buckles and other embellishments.” Neel’s first collection comprises eight styles, such as an east-west shoulder bag in silver leather with trapunto stitching details and a thin metallic chain handle, and a black velvet satchel with leather harnessing that fastens with a polished gold filigree fob. Neel’s bags wholesale from $250 to $550 and will bow in August at Jeffrey New York and Bob Ellis in Atlanta.

IN STRIDE: Jockey International Inc. is trotting into the U.S. sock market. The 130-year-old company, based in Kenosha, Wis., announced that it has signed a licensing agreement with Doris International Inc. to design, manufacture and distribute the items for women and men in the U.S.

Doris already creates a line of sheer hosiery for Jockey in America. In the women’s category, Jockey also offers underwear, sport items, sleepwear and thermalwear. The new sock assortment is geared toward department and specialty stores, and is expected to hit shelves in fall. Prices will range from $5 to $15. Doris is a U.S. subsidiary of Doris Hosiery Mills Ltd., one of the largest legwear suppliers in Canada.

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