DONNA’S COLLECTION: Regarding that high-level designer headhunt going on over at Donna Karan, the company’s long-running search for a new creative director for women’s wear has led to an interesting twist. Andrew Comley, who, as reported, was leaving the company in April to move to London, has been persuaded to stick around, at least for now. While Comley’s eventual plans aren’t quite clear, he has worked with Karan to design the spring collection, which will be shown Sept. 20.

But that hasn’t stopped LVMH honchos from continuing their recruitment efforts or the rumors about Karan’s future role with the brand. According to sources, one of her former assistants, Peter Speliopoulos, who went on to work for Cerruti for a brief spell, was approached earlier this year about returning to the company, but could not be persuaded to do so.

WINDING DOWN: Oscar de la Renta creative director Adam Lippes will reduce his responsibilities at the company. Sources said the 29-year-old Lippes plans to launch a unisex underwear line named A+DAM in 2003. Lippes will retain a position at Oscar de la Renta, but sources did not disclose details about the extent of the new role or when it would begin. When reached by telephone Wednesday, Lippes and de la Renta declined comment.

LONG JOHN: Construction is proceeding at full tilt on Rue Saint Honore, future site of the first freestanding John Galliano store in the world. The designer hopes to have it ready in time for Paris fashion week, Oct. 3 to 11. Meanwhile, Galliano is also going great guns on his plans to introduce men’s wear. Although the first collection might not be shown until mid-2003, he’s already scouting out factories to produce it.

TRIPLE PLAY: There will be no rest for the wicked cool this season. Once upon a time, Oct. 2 was slated to be a breather for the fashion pack between Milan and Paris. Now it’s shaping up to be a banner day. Christian Lacroix plans to schedule an intimate presentation that evening after Undercover, Collette Dinnigan, Yohji Yamamoto and Martin Margiela. As reported, Lacroix nixed plans to do his usual mega-show at the Carrousel du Louvre and is going off-calendar. On Wednesday, he said he felt his collection "lost" something when presented in the big room. To wit: Lacroix plans to show in a smaller venue, mixing pieces from his signature, Bazar and jeans collections on models — with a bit of vintage thrown in for good measure. "I want it to be a real working session," he said.

SARAH’S STOP: Sarah Jessica Parker, due to deliver her first child this fall, will definitely be making at least one planned stop during fashion week: to Narciso Rodriguez’s Thursday night Bryant Park show. The designer actually whipped up a couple of special pregnancy looks for several press and social events in the next month, although apparently, she has something else in mind for the Emmy Awards Sept. 22 at the Shrine Auditorium in L.A. But then again, who knows?

HAIR RAISER: It looks like all those hours Ashley Judd logs at the racetrack watching her husband, Dario Franchitti, speed by are rubbing off on the actress. A windblown-looking Judd arrived at the San Francisco Opera gala opening last week sporting a spiky I-stuck-my-finger-in-the-light-socket hairdo. "It’s my faux hawk," she joked, slinky in a sequined Badgley Mischka gown. "I’m playing a cop in my new movie and I have to have a regular hairdo forthisrole, so this is my night to have some fun." Judd is filming "Blackout" in San Francisco with director Philip Kaufman.

CALLING D&G: Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are expanding their movie work. After doing the entire wardrobe for Angelina Jolie in "Life or Something Like It," they’ve designed Colin Farrell’s wardrobe for the new fall thriller "Phone Booth." It wasn’t exactly a huge assignment — Farrell’sentire wardrobe consists of one black single-breasted Dolce & Gabbana suit with a cranberry shirt. Farrell plays a slick New York p.r. agent trapped in a West 53rd Street phone booth for a day by a mad man. What, no cell phone?

SELLING OUT?: Miguel Adrover took no prisoners in his earlier collections, skewering the corporate logos of Burberry, Polo Ralph Lauren and the New York Yankees in the process, but he’s taking his relaunch a little more seriously, having created a commemorative T-shirt for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, emblazoned with its crest and — egads — available to the public for the first time. The $30 tees, styled with a white cotton V-neck and woven polo-style cuff and collar, will be sold online at starting Monday, with a portion of the sales to help finance fashion shows for new designers.

HENDY FOR HER: Four years after launching his signature men’s wear, designer Francis Hendy will introduce a women’s collection at his Sept. 19 runway show. The Trinidad native, who apprenticed with a custom tailor after moving to New York 15 years ago, has been creating custom clothes for Macy Gray, ’NSync and Musiq Soul Child out of his West 39th Street studio, building a business estimated around $200,000 in annual sales.

"I’m looking forward to dressing women in lots of color," Hendy said. "My clothes are about fun and happiness, clothes that are easy to wear and that offer a lot of pieces that interchange."

Hendy is also opening a new store Sept. 20 at 65 Thompson St. in SoHo, his first since closing a signature shop in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn that closed in the late Nineties.

NOT QUITE RED: Sasha Lazard will help MaxMara with the U.S. launch of its Sportmax collection with a Tuesday performance at Splashlight Studios. The trance-soprano singer, whose latest album is called "The Myth of Red" — after her favorite color — will naturally don Sportmax for the event. But there was one problem: Within the entire collection, there’s not a stitch of red, leaving Lazard to debate between a sheer eggplant bohemian dress that is cut on the bias or a metallic lace number with bell sleeves. "Like my music, [Sportmax] combines the whimsical with the contemporary," Lazard said. The company is sending out its invitations to the event wrapped in a leather cuff, which will also be sold at the MaxMara SoHo boutique at 450 West Broadway, beginning in October.

NEXT ON THE BLOCK: Continuing to fill in the West 14th Street retail ranks, designer Yigal Azrouël has signed a lease to build his first shop at 408 West 14th St., next to the new Carlos Miele store and near Rubin Chapelle’s recently opened shop. Azrouël leased the 2,500-square-foot space at a rent of approximately $65 a foot, and plans to open his store in January.

"We definitely wanted to have a concept that’s going to add something to the area," Azrouël said. "Everything will be moving in the store, so that it’s not just going to be beautiful clothes. It’s going to be much more than that."The designer plans to incorporate a mixed media display of traditional exposed brick walls with synthetic fixtures and large digital displays that will broadcast a variety of images 24 hours a day, reflecting the all-night-party atmosphere of the neighborhood. Architect Dror Benshetrit, who has not previously worked on a retail concept, will design the store, he said.

"What I love about New York is the old and the new are going on right next to each other, and that’s what I want to convey in this store," Azrouël said. "The ambiance is just as important as the clothes."

ROSSI’S STAYING: Sergio Rossi is due to rechristen its renovated boutique on Rue Faubourg Saint Honore in Paris with a press party tonight. The shoe and accessories company is now controlled by Gucci Group, which, along with Sergio Rossi’s son, Gianvito, denied market talk in Milan that his father was leaving the firm he founded. Gianvito, who works with his father, said the two of them "have no desire to leave the company. My father is still very much involved in the business: He coordinates a team of people and is happy with the growth of his company."

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