WATCH OUT: Skulls may have become a tad fashion victim, but Colette is backing a design it feels has more substance. Today, a new limited edition BR01 Airborne skull watch line by Bell & Ross goes on sale in the store which has bagged a two-week exclusive. Launched to coincide with the 65th anniversary of D-Day, the line, with its skull-shaped faces, pays homage to the emblems on uniforms worn by paratroopers of the U.S. Airborne divisions during World War II, said to symbolize courage in the face of death. “I think it’s a great project as it has a real story behind it and real technique,” said Colette’s Sarah Lerfel, who has chosen to dedicate the store’s windows to the line for its launch, along with a parachute and airplane seat for mood.

This story first appeared in the June 8, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

ART IN VENICE: The Fondazione Prada’s exhibitions have become the go-to events at the Venice Art Biennale, and this year is no different. On Friday, Miuccia Prada and her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, welcomed the likes of Marc Jacobs, Diesel chief Renzo Rosso and Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich, who took in Pop and Minimal works by American artist John Wesley at the Fondazione Cini on the island of San Giorgio.

Most of the art and fashion crowd then moved on to a dinner organized by Lapo Elkann and Arrigo Cipriani to launch their new I-Spirit vodka, then to the Vogue L’Uomo party at Palazzo Grassi, sponsored by Gucci Group, where the guest list included Angela and Margherita Missoni, Beatrice Trussardi, Ennio Capasa, Delfina Delettrez Fendi, Naomi Campbell and Charlotte Casiraghi.

HELPING HAND: Aspiring business owners got a high-profile boost Thursday as designer Tory Burch and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa unveiled the Tory Burch Foundation at Burch’s store on Robertson Boulevard. The foundation will support small businesses by making loans to aspiring entrepreneurs who don’t qualify for bank credit and is being launched in partnership with Accion, the largest micro lender in the United States. Burch gave an unspecified sum of money to the nonprofit to get things started, and said she’ll fund her namesake foundation through corporate partnerships and sales of goods such as tote bags and T-shirts. “Despite the economy, and in fact because of it, now’s the time for people to step up and help,” said Burch, adding her business also has been hit by the recession. “We still need to do a tremendous amount of work.”

Villaraigosa lauded Burch for “using her celebrity for good,” but didn’t pause to do any shopping on his way out. “I’ll read about it on TMZ tomorrow if I do,” he said.

LAW SUIT: Esteban Cortazar has launched a lawsuit against Emanuel Ungaro, according to sources. As reported, Cortazar is parting ways with the Paris-based fashion house. Sources said Friday the designer’s lawyers plan to take legal action, but that the house is expected to settle. An Ungaro spokeswoman declined to comment.

DONNA KARAN, R.N.: Sandwiched between launching her resort collection and appearing at the LVMH Bike Challenge press conference Tuesday, Donna Karan found time to add another notch to her designer belt — an honorary nursing diploma from the Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing in New York. “It was truly an honor and it was very humbling. To speak to these brand-new 100 nurses, all you could see [on their faces] was love and compassion. It has enormous meaning to me,” said the newly minted “Nurse” Donna.

Karan, who already possesses an honorary doctorate from Parsons The New School for Design, addressed the new inductees into the nursing profession by recounting her own personal journey. She recalled how she produced the collection for Anne Klein, when Klein was losing her battle with breast cancer and Karan was in the throes of giving birth to Gabby, and her late husband Stephan’s valiant fight against lung cancer, as well as her numerous efforts through the Urban Zen Foundation to help cancer patients. “I started my day as a nurse and ended my day seeing ‘Nurse Jackie’ with Edie Falco. It’s brilliant,” said Karan, who proudly wore several hats that day, including her graduation cap.



THINK PINK: The fight against cancer is something Ralph Lauren and his team at Polo are very passionate about, and on Wednesday, that sentiment was underscored at a breakfast hosted by David Lauren to highlight the company’s nine-year-old Pink Pony program. Held at the company’s 650 Madison Avenue offices, the press breakfast served to unveil new Pink Pony looks for fall, which include a quilted down vest with the logo, a nylon running jacket, black sunglasses and water bottles. Lauren recalled how the former fashion editor of The Washington Post, the late Nina Hyde, inspired Lauren’s commitment to fight the disease, and he spearheaded the launch of the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s “Fashion Targets Breast Cancer” initiative. “We didn’t feel that was enough, so we started Pink Pony,” Lauren said.

His remarks were followed by a few words from Dr. Harold Freeman, the president and founder of the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention, which is devoted to helping underserved communities in Harlem. “Poverty should not cause you to die,” Freeman told the editors. “People should not die of cancer because they are poor.”



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