WEDDING BELLS AT LAUDER: John Demsey, a group president at the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., has decided to take a break from plotting brand strategy and pursue some development of his own by tying the knot. His engagement to Anouschka Izmirlian was revealed over the weekend and a wedding date is being planned. The engagement ring wasn’t done in time, so the ever-resourceful Demsey presented his bride-to-be with a Kimora Lee Simmons Hello Kitty ring. Clearly a woman with a sense of humor, she said yes. The couple has known each other on and off for some time, after meeting in an elevator in the Upper East Side apartment building where they both lived. Izmirlian grew up in Geneva and Demsey comes from Shaker Heights, Ohio.

BLONDE AMBITION: Guests at Chanel’s cruise show in Los Angeles on Friday will spy the first look of the collection on someone in the audience: Claudia Schiffer. Karl Lagerfeld tapped the model, whom he recently shot for a Dom Perignon campaign, for Chanel’s cruise press kit. Mind you, Schiffer won’t be the only famous face lining the front row. Plenty of Tinseltown residents are awaited, including the likes of Demi Moore, Cameron Diaz and Camilla Belle, along with rockers Cat Power, Lily Allen and Anthony Kiedis.

BABY TALK: Talk about glamorous maternitywear. Valentino has whipped up a romantic, pale rose silk Empire gown for mother-to-be Eva Herzigova for the unveiling of Chopard’s Red Carpet Collection in Cannes, France, on Wednesday. For the event, Valentino also has created a capsule collection of dresses inspired by 10 of Chopard’s 60 fine jewelry pieces.

THE WINNERS’ CIRCLE: Sometimes winning takes some convincing, but usually not when the prize is already in the bag. At Sunday’s Alpert Award in the Arts, the event’s namesake Herb Alpert told the crowd how Cynthia Hopkins, the winner for theater, mistook him for a crank caller when he rang to let her know she had won. She listened to the news, which included mention of a $25,000 increase on top of what used to be a $50,000 award, with complete skepticism. After hanging up with Alpert, Hopkins realized her gaffe and fired off an e-mail to administrators. Alpert, meanwhile, was busy checking the caller ID on his phone to make sure he had dialed the right number.

This story first appeared in the May 15, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The music legend, who recently launched for young people looking to crack the music industry, talked about his own self-doubt. Alpert told the crowd at Maro Lion‘s uptown pad about how he once felt as though he didn’t deserve an award, but he also felt as though he didn’t deserve getting arthritis.

OUT OF AFRICA: The art crowd and the fashion flock won’t jet off to the Venice Biennale until next month, but this year’s Life Achievement Award has just been announced. Malian photographer Malick Sidibe is this year’s winner, according to Biennale director Robert Storr. Sidibe’s work will be featured in Storr’s exhibition as part of a collaborative project of images and music focused on disseminating information in Mali on AIDS prevention and treatment. The 72-year-old lensman is the first artist for whom photography is the primary medium to receive a Golden Lion since the German team of Bernd and Hilla Becher received it — for sculpture — about 15 years ago. Sidibe also will be the first African to receive a Golden Lion in Venice.

SCARE AND TEAR: Rick Owens’ clothes are to star in a horror flick by underground director Bruce LaBruce, who wrapped up shooting in Berlin two days ago. “It’s a gay zombie movie, so I selected a few vampire-y looks for it,” joked Owens, who is no stranger to the silver screen. Meryl Streep wore a studded bolero by the designer in “The Devil Wears Prada.” “It was so flattering to see that my clothes were worn by the bitch,” he said. Next up, Owens will be staging a show of his furniture line during the Paris rtw shows in October at the Jousse Enterprise gallery.

CARBONATED COOL: Custo Barcelona plans to help Europeans stay cool this summer by teaming up with Perrier. The Spanish label will add fizz to the brand’s soda cans and bottles with flashy designs. The limited edition cans will be available through September.

HOME ALONE: After hitting the red carpet at the Tribeca Ball and the Costume Institute gala last week, Ellen Pompeo and her fiancé, Chris Ivery, were decidedly more dressed down Sunday morning at Brasserie Jo in Boston. For Mother’s Day brunch near Copley Plaza, the “Grey’s Anatomy” actress opted for jeans, flats and a leather jacket. Ivery, who like Pompeo grew up outside of Boston, also was keeping things casual in jeans and a green zip-front jacket. Free from photographers and autograph seekers, the pair and their party lingered outside the entrance chatting — on the gray carpet.

TV TIME: The finale of “America’s Next Top Model” airs Wednesday on the CW Network, but one winner is already clear: Sass & Bide will be worn by models and hosts alike, as the final competitors walk in a staged fashion show featuring all Sass & Bide, with the Sydney harbor as the backdrop. Sass & Bide designers Sarah-Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton are guest judges, and both Tyra Banks and guest judge CariDee English, who won last season, also sport the contemporary brand on the show.

TRIPLE PLAY: Subversive Jewelry designer Justin Giunta has lots going on. Not only is he within the three-week mark of finding out whether he won the CFDA’s Swarovski Award for Accessory Design, but he’ll be feted tonight at House & Garden’s party for its “Tastemakers” issue, in which he was declared one. “It’s a really great honor,” said Giunta. “We’re also on the cover of this week’s New York magazine, so it’s been a good week….As far as being a tastemaker, it shows that my aesthetic transcends across many media. I feel very validated as a tastemaker.” The fun doesn’t end there. On Wednesday night, Guinta will be showcasing his new couture collection at Phillips de Pury & Company in honor of his nomination. There, the clusters of chains and charms that make up some of Subversive’s most spectacular pieces will shine against the most famous modern art masterpieces. “It’s going to be a poignant retrospective of contemporary art as it exists today — big names, big pieces, big price tags,” joked Giunta. “But visually it will be really stunning. Accessories designers don’t get much of an opportunity to show everything at one time — you never see an accessories designer walking down the runway, so this is a nice compromise to that.”

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