FASHION MYSTERY: Where is Jil Sander? And what is she up to? Curiosity is reaching a fever pitch as Jan. 31 approaches. That’s the day her noncompete agreement expires with Prada Group, which bought her company in 1999 and ousted her five months later. Sander no longer has control of her label, but she will soon be free to pursue fashion design — if she wants to. Theories abound, with some sources suggesting she’s sure to launch a new collection, while an equal number insist she’s enjoyed her free time and has no intentions of entangling herself in the tough fashion business. One Paris source has her launching a home collection. About the only thing for certain is that Sander’s talent for discretion remains formidable. She was actually in Paris during couture week, and is said to have dined with Azzedine Alaïa and friends.

OUT OF VOGUE: Miuccia Prada was there. Yohji Yamamoto was there. Sidney Toledano, the president of Christian Dior was there. But no one from American Vogue was invited to Azzedine Alaïa’s show at the close of Paris couture week Thursday. Alaïa could not be reached for comment, but it’s believed he scratched the title off his invitation list because it does not showcase his designs in the magazine. Sally Singer, fashion news/features director, and Hamish Bowles, European editor at large, who were covering couture for the magazine this week, were traveling and could not be reached for comment. But a Vogue spokesman offered: "This is Azzedine’s decision, and there’s nothing else to say about it."

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