LUXURY IN STORE: Serge Weinberg, chairman of the French retailerPinault-Printemps-Redoute, christened a new floor at the Printemps department store dedicated to luxury goods on Friday. But before he hosted the festivities, attended by about 500 guests, he and Gucci Group head Domenico De Sole sat down with journalists. Weinberg reiterated his commitment to the deal reached last month that allows PPR to take majority control of Gucci. It has been speculated that PPR would try to renegotiate the terms of that deal, and there has also been conjecture that De Sole and Weinberg have butted heads over business. To dispel these rumors, Weinberg stressed his admiration for De Sole, saying, "We both have to look out for our shareholders, but we see eye to eye." For his part, De Sole said Weinberg had played an instrumental role in helping Gucci negotiate its recent acquisition of Balenciaga, and added, "We have great personal relations and respect for each other." Later, the two were joined by PPR boss Francois Pinault for an inspection of the new luxury floor, which includes an Yves Saint Laurent in-store shop--the only such unit in the world. "This [YSL shop] is the cherry on top of the cake," said Printemps president Laurence Danon.
FAR OUT: Coqueline Courreges is a fashion original, so it isn't surprising that, while most designers show their collections on runways, she took a less conventional route for spring. Dozens of girls - some in inflatable plastic bubbles - wore her house's new and vintage dresses to the inauguration of Paris's contemporary art fair, FIAC, on Tuesday. She also chaired a colloquium of scientists and artists--called "The Human, Genetics and Art"--and designed the fair's all-white VIP cafe. For the vivacious Courreges, who said she still creates more than 1,000 new designs a year, the activities marked the second episode in the three-part series she began in July. At that time, she cast a jacket in resin and boiled tar at a "happening" in her Paris boutique. Part three is scheduled for January 9. Courreges hinted that the finale would feature her ongoing research into how to link genetics and fashion. "When you are a visionary, you have to stay 25 or 30 years ahead of the pack," she explained. Meanwhile, Courreges said that her husband, Andre, who founded the space-age house in 1961, now devotes his time to painting. "He's like a peasant farmer," she noted. "He wakes up with the rooster, at the crack of dawn, and goes to sleep with the rooster, as soon as the sun sets."