CULTURE CLUB: Alber Elbaz is heading to Italy next week — but to give a speech, not show a collection. Lanvin’s quotable designer has agreed to address the opening of the first UNESCO World Forum on Culture and Cultural Industries on Sept. 24 at the Villa Reale in Monza, just north of Milan. The conference, running over three days, is to explore culture as a vehicle for sustainable economic development, with Elbaz exploring the importance of savoir faire to the fashion industry.

Meanwhile, on a lighter and more musical note, Elbaz is among a range of designers and artists tapped by pop sensation Mika to illustrate a hardcover book being released in tandem with his new four-song EP entitled “Songs for Sorrow.” Elbaz’s drawing is anything but sad, depicting a colorful and glamorous mermaid. The Mika book is on sale in Lanvin boutiques in Paris, London, Monaco and Tokyo. Other fashion figures to have contributed to the Mika book include Paul Smith, Manish Arora and Walter Van Beirendonck.

This story first appeared in the September 16, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

20/20 HINDSIGHT: Members of the fashion brigades who are wounded and wilting from too many platform stilettos and late nights at the Boom Boom Room are probably happy they went to the Anya Hindmarch presentation earlier in the week. Gift bags there were “Anya’s Apothecary” kits, full of necessities like Band-Aids, Boost vitamin packets, Kleenex, mints and Bach Flower Remedy (to guard against colds). Guests at the Hindmarch party got an even better bag — from the designer’s new line, as well as manicures and glasses of Champagne. Hindmarch herself was in town to see the likes of Poppy Delevingne, Jessica Joffe and Nina Freudenberger. Though the planned city-wide scavenger hunt (one task: take a photo of a team member kissing a policeman) was rained out, it will be re-enacted later in the year.


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