BUSINESS AND PLEASURE: The office romance between Louise Blouin MacBain, the vivacious Canadian-born business tycoon, and Simon de Pury of the auction house Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg, is apparently over. So it should be no surprise that MacBain, who since February has been the house’s chief executive, on Thursday called it quits on the job front, too. De Pury and Daniella Luxembourg will assume all of the former ceo’s responsibilities, the house said. MacBain will continue her work as the chairman of LTB Holdings, a company through which she makes business investments. Before her association with Phillips, MacBain ran, an empire built on 150 classified-ad newspapers which she ran with her former husband John MacBain. She resigned as ceo in 2000 at the time of her divorce.

Rumors swirling among the social set, where the former couple are well known, have already paired MacBain with a European royal. Another has her trying to buy the auction house out from underneath her old lover like a "Dynasty" diva.

While De Pury, who began dating MacBain around two years ago, will surely recover, the breakup has left many wondering whether the house’s business will. After a rocky auction season, during which results from the Impressionist sale were lagging, speculation inevitably has led toward the company’s demise.

KASPER’S FUTURE: It’s not exactly a fait accompli that John Idol, chairman and ceo of Kasper ASL, and his private equity partner, Parthenon Capital LLC, will purchase Kasper ASL Ltd. from creditors for $88 million in cash. That’s the offer they made Wednesday to a special committee of Kasper’s board. Kasper last year generated $383.9 million in sales. Sources said Idol’s group could have some heady competition from the likes of Kellwood Corp., which has made no secret of its desire to buy other fashion companies, as well as acquisition-hungry Jones Apparel Group and Liz Claiborne. Just what the industry needs: a good catfight early in the New Year over the Kasper, Anne Klein and Albert Nipon brands.

SAKS FOR LUNCH: Talk about a generous Santa. At Saks Fifth Avenue’s holiday luncheon on Tuesday, which is cohosted by Mark Badgley, James Mischka, John Bartlett, Reed Krakoff, Catherine Malandrino, Charles Nolan, Lars Nilsson and Hervé Pierre, the three door prizes to be drawn by Santa Claus are a 1.04 carat heart-shaped F grade diamond pendant set in platinum from Graff, a chinchilla wrap from Birger Christensen and a diamond watch from Michele Watches.But wait, there’s more: the goody bag — a new Coach Gallery tote — has loot from Catherine Malandrino candles and Badgley Mischka compacts to Anne Klein evening clutches and hot-off-the-press Bill Blass sunglasses. Also on tap are signed copies of "I Never Met A Man I Didn’t Lick," the new book by Sweetie, Bartlett’s infamous dog. Sweetie won’t be left out in the gift-giving spirit — there will be a special goody bag for her that includes Coach’s new "puffa" vest for dogs.

NO CAUSE FOR ALARM: The New York Police Department officers toting machine guns outside the Empire State Building Thursday were not responding to a bomb scare, evacuation or fire. According to an NYPD spokesman, the officers were part of the Emergency Services Unit, which checks out potential terrorist targets as a precautionary measure. A small Con Edison explosion around the corner from the fabled address most likely triggered the officer’s dispatch, the spokesman said. With no emergency at hand, ESU officers posed for pictures with tourists outside the building. Cheese!

FAMILY OF MANNEQUINS: Retailers have long lacked a minority appeal, but now mannequin-maker Ralph Pucci International and illustrator Ruben Toledo have just the multiracial hook. They’ve collaborated to create mannequins in five skin tones: Caucasian, Asian, Latina, Middle Eastern and Black. Forty of them, in 15 poses, will be unveiled at the Pucci showroom on West 18th Street Saturday night, dressed in clothes designed by Isabel Toledo, Ruben’s wife.

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