CARDONA IN, FRANCER OUT?: Cerruti and David Cardona are close to a deal that would bring on board the Los Angeles-based designer to oversee the collection and the 1881 diffusion line, a move that could in essence bump out Istvan Francer after only two seasons. It would also mean the third replacement in 12 months: Roberto Menichetti left last May after only six months.

Neither camps at Cardona nor Cerruti would confirm the news, yet sources say an official announcement could come as Cardona is about to kick off Los Angeles Fashion Week with his signature collection April 1. And Cardona has been seen coming in and out of the Paris and Milan Cerruti offices so often that more than negotiations could already be under way.

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