MILAN SCOOP

A FORD IN YOUR FUTURE: A designer's work is never done--especially when there's a public offering in the works. Tom Ford's uptown hippies had barely left the Gucci runway when the designer took off for a road show, joining Gucci ceo Domenico De Sole and other execs to pitch the banking set on the merits of going public. And he was sure up for the trip. "I love the business side," said Ford, "at least as much as I love design."

IT'S A SMALL WORLD: What do Anna Sui and Muammar el-Qaddafi have in common? A certain aesthetic sensibility--at least where chairs are concerned. For her informal Sui presentation, the designer decorated her space with quirky, opulent carved chairs from a furniture catalog company based in the Adriatic town of Pesaro, where Qaddafi's also purchased chairs. Anna had hers covered in a bold zebra print and the frames lacquered black; Muammar had his painted gold.

GET SMART: In March, Gianfranco Ferre said he hadn't hired young Brazilian model Gianne Albertoni to strut his fall catwalk because "she has such a stupid face." Well, maybe Gianne practiced looking smart over the summer, because guess who graced Ferre's runway this time out, right up there with more sophisticated colleagues like Naomi and Karen? Old stupido herself.

FUR HEIST: While all eyes were on the Milan shows Thursday night, a carload of bandits drove right through the window of the Fendi boutique on Via Borgognona in Rome and made off with a cache of furs and accessories worth about $300,000. Fendi said no suspects had yet been found.

NAOMI'S WOES: Rocco Barocco was supposed to kick off the Milan show calendar at 9 a.m. Thursday morning, but started an hour late because Naomi Campbell failed to show up on time. It turns out she was on the phone with Giancarlo Giammetti, lamenting over her latest media problem. Now the Italian papers have paired her up with 36-year-old Gianni Nunnari, U.S. director of the Italian film production company Cecchi Gori. Even the smooth-talking Giammetti couldn't offer some fatherly advice. "There is nothing I can tell her," he said.ARMANI UPDATE: Don't expect to see hippies, Beekman Place or otherwise, on Giorgio Armani's runway. The designer promises 288 exits of thoroughly modern clothes when he shows on Tuesday. "So many trends are 30 years ago," he said, taking a real lunch break at his palazzo Sunday for the first time in two weeks. "What about today?"
But there will be some surprises. Since his day looks are "very real," as he puts it, he's showing big, grand skirts for evening, and, after that opulence, a restrained finale: a single model in pants and a beaded T-shirt. "It's to say that, in the end, this is what I believe," he explained.
But Giorgio's not just thinking about clothes. "So," he asked visitors, "how are things in the States now that O.J.'s over?"

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