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DESIGNERS CANCEL OSCAR PLANS: As Hollywood buzzed Monday as to whether Sunday’s Academy Awards will be canceled due to war, it looks like Giorgio Armani will have some company when he catches the Oscars at home in Europe. Throughout Monday, word came from European houses of cancellation. Minutes after a publicist confirmed Mathew Williamson was indeed on his way, the Los Angeles representative hit redial to say the London designer just canceled. Then came word that Margherita Missoni had not arrived with the Milan crew, camped out at the Chateau Marmont. The reason: her mother, Angela Missoni, forbade the 20-year-old to leave town. And Donatella Versace has also shelved her trip, leaving the Beverly Hills Hotel without the usual army of seamstresses, fitters and handlers. Her right- and left-hand men Jason Weisenfeld and Nunzio Palerma, however, are on their way. But its business as usual for others. Jade Jagger was said to have checked into the Mondrian Monday and was on her way to inspect the Aspery suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel. And a Stella McCartney spokesman confirmed she was already in California getting some R&R and would be flying into Los Angeles Thursday morning to co-host a lunch at the W magazine suite.

This story first appeared in the March 18, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

RALPH AND RICKY’S OUTING: Is Ralph Lauren more interested in Michael Gross’ unauthorized biography, “Genuine Authentic,” than he’s perhaps letting on? Lauren and his wife, Ricky, were seen having coffee at the local Starbucks in New Canaan, Conn., on a recent Saturday when Gross pulled into Elm Street Books across the street to do a signing. The coincidence led some observers to question whether the Laurens were aware of the event. The Laurens have a house in nearby Bedford, N.Y.

“He loves New Canaan, and is here all the time. I’ve never seen them in Starbucks sitting. They never really loiter, they walk around and look in the windows,” observed one New Canaan resident, who saw the Laurens at Starbucks having coffee on the terrace. They left right before the beginning of the book signing, which had been well-publicized in local newspapers and store windows.

A Lauren spokeswoman declined comment.

Gross said that when he arrived at the bookstore, he was told Lauren was across the street and saw the designer’s yellow Ferrari. But the two didn’t meet.

“Ralph has never been in the bookstore,” said an Elm Street spokeswoman. She said 30 copies of “Genuine Authentic” were sold at the signing.

CHARITY CASES: Before it kicks off its broader Key to the Cure initiative, Saks Fifth Avenue has roped in a sizeable celebrity contingent for its annual Oscars-week benefit with Cedars-Sinai Research for Women’s Cancers. The March 25 event is being chaired by Hollywood power couples Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks and Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg, while up-and-comers Jennifer Garner and Scott Foley are joining Candice Bergen and Bonnie Bruckheimer as national spokespersons for the cause.

This year’s honoree, Stella McCartney, also happens to be working on a new T-shirt to benefit Saks’ overall fundraising efforts to combat women’s cancers in its post-CFDA era. But she’s also designed something for the Cedars-Sinai event — the tablecloths for dinner, which feature the same “naughty monkey” print that adorns the dressing room of her New York store.

WAITING ON SPADE: Forget Bobby Short — Andy Spade has given the Carlyle something to sing about.

Kate’s counterpart will be outfitting the wait staff with suits from his Jack Spade collection when the Upper East Side landmark’s restaurant, Dumonet, opens next month. Spade’s coffee-colored morning suits and suede vests will complement the modern interior flair, courtesy of Thierry Despont. Chef Jean Louis Dumonet’s menu will also have an element of creativity, in that guests can design their own meals.

Spade has also come up with a concept for a women’s uniform, should the Carlyle hire a female for its wait staff.