BALMAIN’S MAIN MAN: Could Christophe Decarnin, the designer who is heating up Balmain with his short and sexy frocks, be extending his creative duties to men’s wear? Word has it Decarnin has been working on a new men’s collection for the French house and could unveil his first designs as soon as Men’s Fashion Week in Paris next month.

MUTI’S TURN: Italian actress Ornella Muti is dabbling in her longtime dream — jewelry. Starting today, Muti will offer a teaser by posting a handcuff-derived bracelet, studded with black or white zircons, on her Web site. Spelled out on the suede or silk band of the $290 bracelet is the script “free me, if you love me” in Tibetan. Some were given out to select stars at last month’s Tribeca Film Festival, where the actress financed the restoration of Federico Fellini’s “Toby Dammit” film.

This story first appeared in the May 16, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“I’ve always wanted to design my own jewelry line, so it’s a dream come true,” said the 53-year-old actress, adding she was inspired by her personal pieces collected during her travels since her teenage years.

Muti has created a 50-piece collection in silver and semiprecious stones including earrings, rings, necklaces and pendants. A smaller, limited edition line in yellow gold and gems will be added in the future. The Ornella Muti jewels collection will be distributed by KGC Celebrities only via the Web and will appear piecemeal. “I don’t want to show everything in one shot, I like to create a bit of suspense,” she said.

ZOE JOINS THE CRUSH: Speaking of celebrity lines, timed with her new Bravo reality show, Rachel Zoe is entering the world of licensing. The celeb stylist has partnered with The Beanstalk Group Inc. to develop a line of apparel, accessories and undergarments under the Rachel Zoe brand. The project is still in the beginning stages.

PIN UP: Look out, Carla Bruni- Sarkozy: another fashion figure is infiltrating the Elysée Palace. An Elysée spokesman confirmed French President Nicolas Sarkozy will decorate Giorgio Armani as a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor on July 3 during couture week in Paris. Additional details are forthcoming.

SNAP HAPPY: Normally behind-the-scenes lensmen (and -women) got their moment in the spotlight Monday at the International Center of Photography’s 24th Annual Infinity Awards, held at Pier Sixty-Chelsea Piers. During cocktails, professionals like Mario Sorrenti, Steven Klein and honorees Malick Sidibe, Craig McDean, Anthony Suau, Bill Jay, Edward Burtynsky and Mikhael Subtozky mingled with vice chairs Calvin and Kelly Klein, Helena Christensen, Irina Lazareanu and Elizabeth Lindemann. Blythe Danner arrived with son Jake Paltrow in tow, whose fiancée, Taryn Simon, won the publication award for her book “An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar.”

“I wrote the foreword to her book,” explained Salman Rushdie, adding that the narrator in his own “The Ground Beneath Her Feet” was a photographer. He was loathe to confess to any skills of his own, though. “I take snaps, but tonight I’m just here to clap,” he said.

ICP Trustees Award winner Diane Keaton — who has edited a slew of coffee-table tomes — was quick to admit that she prefers to remain on the other side of the lens. “I am so sick of myself,” she bemoaned, just before the ceremony and seated dinner for 800 people. “I never want to see another photo of myself ever again.

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