HOUSE ARREST: A Chinese former model who shot to fame in the early Nineties following high-profile collaborations with Laura Biagiotti is under house arrest after being brought up on money laundering charges by Italian police.

Two decades ago, 42-year-old model Xiao Dong Mei was part of Biagiotti’s exclusive coterie. In February 1995, Dong Mei accompanied Biagiotti to Russia for a four-day fashion extravaganza culminating in a runway show at the Kremlin — the first of its kind in Moscow by a Western fashion designer. After Dong Mei enjoyed a lucrative modeling career, she broke into Italian TV in 1993 and added game show host and showgirl to her resume. On Tuesday, Italian police arrested Dong Mei and her 47-year-old husband, Italian accountant Federico Di Lauro, while they were vacationing in Ponza on their 56-foot yacht.

This story first appeared in the August 5, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Di Lauro was jailed in Rome on a series of charges, the largest offense stemming from a Ponzi scheme that he allegedly ran with two co-conspirator ex-bankers, earning him the nickname “The Madoff of Parioli,” alluding to the neighborhood of his Rome office.

Speaking to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Thursday, the ex-model asserted her and her husband’s innocence.

A DEBUT FOR MCQ: McQ, the younger, lower-priced line from Alexander McQueen, will be getting its first stand-alone shop next year. The McQ store will open in central London in the early spring of 2012, a McQueen spokesman has confirmed. Alexander McQueen took the McQ line in-house last year, and since then has been building it into a full, stand-alone collection.

SPEAKING IN CODE: French leather goods brand Lancel will launch a collection inspired by Salvador Dalí with an exhibition at the Paris flagship of department store chain Galeries Lafayette. To celebrate the Collection Daligramme, Lancel has joined forces with the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation to stage a retrospective featuring never-before-seen photographs of the Surrealist painter and his wife Gala at the store’s Galerie des Galeries exhibition space from Sept. 1 to 20. The collection, which is based on a secret “love alphabet” developed by the artist, consists of 20 handbag styles — 13 in jacquard and seven in leather — with names like DaliDay and DaliCious, and a range of small leather goods and accessories, a spokeswoman for Lancel said. The bag designs will include two updated versions of the original slim rectangular Dalí handbag produced by Lancel in 1970, which featured a strap made from a bicycle chain. The 2011 versions, dubbed DaliDol, come with more practical leather straps.

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