DEGREES OF SEPARATION: Jil may have left Sander, and Helmut may have left Lang, but fear not: There is no risk of Azzedine Alaïa leaving his fashion house. “It’s going very well,” Alaïa declared Tuesday, reiterating his strong rapport with Prada Group, which purchased 100 percent of his company in 2000, a year after it snapped up Sander and Lang in a bid to build a multibrand luxury group. Alaïa, while presenting a chic new line of suede shoes and crocodile bags for pre-fall made by Prada, stressed his independence is respected — and sales continue to mount. What’s more, he’s in the throes of developing a signature fragrance, searching for an eyewear partner — and collecting industry kudos. Come May 24, he’ll fly to San Francisco as guest of honor at the graduation show for the School of Fashion and Merchandising at the Academy of Art University. There, he will be bestowed with an honorary doctorate.

A SUZY Q: Paris is a big, cosmopolitan city, and certainly big enough for two high-profile fashion scribes who both work for The New York Times Co. Asked for her reaction to the news this week that Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn is relocating to Paris next year, International Herald Tribune fashion editor Suzy Menkes was unfazed. “I don’t know anything about it. She hasn’t shared her plans with me,” Menkes said, adding: “There’s lots of stories to be done out of Paris.”

GRACE NOTES: Vogue creative director Grace Coddington has collaborated with Magnum Photos, selecting 100 images from the agency's archive to run all this week in a continuous slide show on the billboard above New York’s Port Authority building on 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue. The images, by photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elliott Erwitt, Martine Franck, Philippe Halsman, Bruno Barbey and Eve Arnold, will change every six seconds.

“They look like fashion pictures, but they aren’t,” said Coddington, who herself is a longtime collector of photography. “I looked for pictures that make me smile...There are a lot of animal pictures, which I love,” she added. The grouping, in fact, includes an image of a llama getting out of a taxi cab, as well as a tiny chihuahua wearing a hat.

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