MADONNA TO CANNES: Madonna will be among the luminaries kicking up their heels on the Croisette at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. AmfAR said Tuesday that Madge will join Cinema Against AIDS chairs Sharon Stone, Harvey Weinstein, Michelle Yeoh, Carine Roitfeld, Chopard’s Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele, producer Michel Litvak and amfAR chairman Kenneth Cole at the May 22 gala, presented by Litvak’s Bold Films, Chopard and The Weinstein Co. As always, the event will take place at Le Moulin de Mougins and include a formal dinner and a lengthy live auction called by Stone. This year Seal has been tapped to perform, and a clip of the Madonna-produced and narrated film “I Am Because We Are,” about AIDS orphans in Malawi, will also be shown. The film will be screened in its entirety at Cannes the night before.

PHONE TAG: While legions of fashion brands, including Giorgio Armani, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana, have launched designer cell phones over the past few years, Gucci is forging its own high-tech path in the world of mobile communication through a new Web site in Japan. Cell phone users in Japan can access the site,, by scanning their phones over a high-tech code that appears in magazine advertisements and special posters in the Omotesando subway station that will be on display for one week starting April 7. The QR codes, similar to the bar codes used in supermarkets, are commonplace advertising fixtures in Japan, where people often prefer cell phones to computers when it comes to surfing the Internet or sending e-mail. The Gucci site allows users to download special images (think the Gucci Bear or Gucci Joy handbag) to use as wallpaper or icons on their phones. The site also allows cell phone users to browse the Gucci Joy Collection of colorful spring handbags and accessories, as well as check prices and store locations.

This story first appeared in the April 2, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

HELLO DOLLY: Michael Kors is an “American Idol” devotee and an ardent Dolly Parton fan (remember how he kicked off his spring 2006 runway show with “Jolene”?). On Tuesday night, his two obsessions came together when he was an audience member on “American Idol,” which had a Parton theme. Kors, who is in Los Angeles this week shooting the fall campaign with Mario Testino and models Carmen Kass and Noah Mills, was unaware of the theme when he requested the tickets. But he’ll be taking his newfound ties to the show a step further: The “American Idol” producers have asked the designer to tape a public service announcement, which will air during the “Idol Gives Back” benefit show next Wednesday.

FALL BACK: Balmier spring temps have many women breaking out their floral dresses and sandals. True fashion fans, however, have already moved on to fall. They can get their fix this morning at Saks Fifth Avenue, where Ronald Frasch is hosting a preview of the fall Bill Blass collection. Creative director Peter Som will advise the likes of Lucy Sykes Rellie, Ann Caruso, Mary Alice Stephenson, Jamee Gregory, Jill Swid, Nathalie Kaplan, Lizzie Rudnick Tisch, Natalie Leventhal, Coralie Charriol Paul, Cristina Greeven Cuomo, Jennifer Creel and Adelina Wong Ettelson as they take in a fashion presentation.

COMING HOME: Michelle Jank is preparing to return to the Australian runways for the first time in three years. The Paris-based, 31-year-old designer will show on the first day of Australian Fashion Week’s spring-summer showcase, which opens at Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal on April 28. “It’s so nice to come back to do something like this. I feel like I’m coming back to my family,” said Jank. Due to show her fall jewelry collection and relaunch her “demi couture” fashion line — which has been on the back burner since she moved to Paris 18 months ago — Jank is in fact one of three prodigal fashion designers who are returning to Sydney this season. In their first full-scale Australian runway show for five years, New York Fashion Week regulars Heidi Middleton and Sarah-Jane Clarke of Sass & Bide will launch their new s&b Vie diffusion line at shows on May 1.

Jank, Middleton and Clarke headline a rapidly swelling schedule, which includes established names Zimmermann, Alex Perry, Kirrily Johnston, Anna Thomas, Nicola Finetti, Wayne Cooper, Ginger & Smart, Camilla & Marc and New Zealand’s Kate Sylvester. There also will be the solo runway debuts of hot Thai label Stretsis, Hotel Bondi Swim — a new swimwear line from ex-Kitten designers Damion Fuller and Fern Levack — and a slew of up-and-comers, notably Friedrich Gray and Antipodium.

A MUSEUM FOR MULBERRY: Mulberry is hoping to turn shopping into more of a highbrow experience. The British brand has lined up a program of collaborative events at its London Bond Street flagship for 2008. The store — which Mulberry has dubbed the Bond Street Gallery Space — will host a series of exhibitions, including Gethin Moller sculptures, Martin Richman light installations and an in-house exhibition curated by East London’s Fred Gallery to coincide with the Frieze Art Fair in October. For spring, there will also be an installation by London florist McQueen’s, a children’s art project by the London-based charity The Kid’s Company, and a faux-traditional British summer fete, with trestle tables, bunting and goodies for sale by cake makers, artists and craftspeople.

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