FRENCH CONNECTION: French actress Emmanuelle Seigner, Roman Polanski’s wife, is expected to make an appearance at the cocktail party to inaugurate the new Yves Saint Laurent store on Via Montenapoleone. Tom Ford is hosting the bash Thursday.

VALLEY TALK: Is something up between contemporary designer Alvin Valley and Bill Blass? Valley, who’s based in SoHo, has been seen several times leaving the Blass showroom at 550 Seventh Avenue, most recently on Monday morning when he left with a serious look on his face. Valley’s visits have some observers wondering whether he is talking to Blass management about a position. Valley had no comment, but a Blass spokeswoman confirmed that he had a meeting with chief executive Michael Groveman. "Alvin called him to set up the meeting," she said, declining to divulge what they spoke about.

Not that they’re hedging. Michael Vollbracht, who is said to be up for the design post at Blass, has alsobeen spotted around the Blass offices twice in the past week.

MORI STORY: Could the house of Hanae Mori have its eye on Ece Ege, the Paris-based, Turkish-born designer behind fashion brand Dice Kayek? Word has it the two have been talking about a project to revive the Japanese designer’s quiet ready-to-wear. Ege, known for her soft and romantic designs, declined comment. But Mori’s new Japanese partner, Misui Busan, has made no secret it intends to pump life into the house. Mori herself is expected to continue designing the couture, which is shown in Paris.

THE TWILL OF IT ALL: On Sunday Avril Lavigne joined pop stars like Kylie Minogue in dressing in couture for the Grammys. But while Minogue chose Givenchy, Lavigne went for haute Dickies. The pint-sized rocker had her own suit custom made from Dickies’ classic twill fabric, after Lavigne’s stylist, Stephanie Wolf, contacted the workwear house, where Lavigne’s favorite pants, the basic 874, are made. Dickie’s, which outfits not only Lavigne, but her band and roadies, was happy to send over the raw materials.

FUR A’FLYING: Austria’s social set, a fur-wearing set to be sure, is a-twitter over Pamela Anderson’s decision to bring PETA’s Dan Mathews to the Vienna Opera Ball on Thursday night as her date. Controversy over the animal-loving invitee has fueled national news stories there, but Mathews hopes to win over the evening’s host, Richar Lugner (whom some call the Donald Trump of Austria) and his wife, Christina. Packed in Mathews’ bag: a faux-silver fox coat designed by Marc Bouwer, which Mathews plans to present to the hostess."Relax," Mathews wrote in an fax to Lugner on Friday. "Your wife and I will tear up the dance floor — just make sure she leaves her fur at home."

SUPED UP: Could Linda Evangelista be making a return to the runway? That’s what some in Milan are saying following the former supermodel’s cover shot in this month’s Vogue Italia. Although no fashion houses have confirmed that Evangelista is slated to walk, the rumor mill is churning among industry sources that Evangelista — who famously said back in the Nineties that she didn’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 — is reportedly looking for up to six figures a show.

Meanwhile, Helena Christensen is returning to the Milan collections. The green-eyed model is slated to walk exclusively for Mariella Burani.

FRIENDLY FAVORS: Tina Lutz and Marcia Patmos have recruited photographer Ellen Von Unwerth to be this spring’s guest designer for their Lutz & Patmos collection. Von Unwerth named her cotton cashmere camisoles after her friends Carine Roitfeld, Darryl Kerrigan, Melanie Ward and Hannelore. Next up: Christy Turlington, who has designed a cape that doubles as a meditation blanket for fall.

SHOPPING EASE: For those who consider shopping to be too stressful, Gianfranco Ferré is introducing a spa — smack in the center of Milan’s golden shopping strip, inside its newly renovated store at Via Sant’Andrea 15. Aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, and thalassotherapy are only a few of the comforts offered seven days a week.

ARMANI’S CELEBRITY: First it was the perfect form of athletes, now Giorgio Armani is hosting a photo exhibition dedicated to the many faces of celebrity. Kicking off with a cocktail party on Friday, "Encounters with Celebrity, Time for Celebritation" will feature 46 shots by British photographer Rankin. Images range from a toned Madonna to a smiling Queen Elizabeth.

A FINE VINTAGE: As the race to dress Oscar nominee Nicole Kidman heats up, Emanuel Ungaro scored big Sunday night at the BAFTAs, the British version of the Academy Awards. Kidman, Julianne Moore and Thandie Newton all wore the designer’s couture gowns. Kidman’s white vintage column brought her good luck, since she walked away with the award for Best Actress for her performance in "The Hours."

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