GWYNETH EXPECTING: News of Gwyneth Paltrow’s pregnancy hit the Internet Wednesday, but it doesn’t appear to have slowed down her modeling work. The 31-year-old actress, who’s expecting a child this summer with boyfriend Chris Martin, was photographed this week by Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin for a big Hollywood story for The New York Times Magazine in March. And, she’ll appear on the February cover of Vanity Fair, shot by Michael Thompson. Could a Demi Moore cover be down the road?

LANDING THE TOP GUN: A buzz-cut Tom Cruise, sans Penélope, made it to the Ziegfeld Tuesday night around 7:30 and let out a fervent “Roll it!” and one of his trademark laughs when he introduced his two-and-a-half-hour epic, “The Last Samurai,” to a cheering crowd that included Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler, Ali Larter and Amy Smart. But the perpetually smiling Scientologist didn’t show at the after party on the main floor at Barneys until about 12:45 and stayed for a little sushi — and this after two-and-a-half hours of cries from publicists and executives alike of “Where’s Tom?” and “I’ve just spoken to them on their cell” and “Estimated time of arrival: 10 minutes” and “The eagle has not yet landed.” While they waited, Tyson Beckford, Bai Ling, who just finished filming the third “Star Wars” and a Spike Lee film, “She Hate Me,” and Jason Lewis of “Sex and the City,” with a buzz cut like Cruise, mingled with Tony Goldwyn and Ken Watanabe, who both star in the film, and snacked on salmon rolls and sake. Director Ed Zwick, who noted that to achieve the flowing locks Cruise sports in the movie, “we just needed his hair to be really greasy,” felt right at home among the Balenciaga bags. “I’ve dropped more than my share of cash here,” he said. “I don’t feel comfortable without my wallet.”

STAR ACADEMY: Talk about your traveling Tinseltown. Giorgio Armani, who breezed into Paris to give today’s keynote address at the International Herald Tribune’s luxury goods conference, threw an impromptu dinner Wednesday night at his Emporio Armani café and proved he’s a magnet for celebrities wherever he may be. He welcomed the likes of Kristin Scott Thomas, Kylie Minogue and her beau, Olivier Martinez, to a dinner of risotto, truffles and Parma ham.RALPH REDUX: Ralph has the girl. Now he’ll have the boy. Just three months after opening a Ralph Lauren women’s store at 380 Bleecker Street, a spokeswoman on Wednesday confirmed the designer has signed a lease for a space at number 381 for a men’s store, across from the women’s space. Both stores are located between Charles and Perry Streets in the heart of the West Village.

The spokeswoman had no further details about the men’s store. The woman’s shop is 700 square feet, like most spaces on the block.

Bleecker Street, a quintessential tree-lined Village thoroughfare with antiques stores and pastry shops, has become a sort of fashion mecca in the last two years, with rents creeping up to the range of $80 to $120 a square foot. Marc Jacobs occupies number 403 and Lulu Guinness is at number 394. Cynthia Rowley in August acquired a five-story brownstone with a 1,000-square-foot shop at street level at 376 Bleecker Street.

QUICK CHANGE ARTIST: Art and fashion are hardly strange bedfellows. But now, thanks to Hedi Slimane, a routine visit to the fitting room is akin to going to a cutting-edge contemporary gallery. Slimane, who famously commissioned French artist Pierre Huygues to create a ghostly installation at the Dior Homme flagship in Milan, has lined up a gaggle of other hot conceptual names for changing rooms in upcoming boutiques. The Dior flagship slated to bow Saturday on Omotesando in Tokyo will feature an installation by Stockholm-based Carsten Höller in the men’s department. New York’s Dior Homme store, opening in February, will feature one by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone, while a Paris location on Rue Royale, bowing next spring, will feature the work of Belgian video and installation artist Ann Veronica Janssens. What’s more, word has it Slimane has lined up two other art-world stars for forthcoming flagships in London and Paris: video wiz Doug Aitken, and Olafur Eliasson, whose sun-and-sky installation is dazzling visitors to London’s Tate Modern.

HIGH SPIRITS AT SAKS: With a new chief executive in place and a sales turnaround under way, Saks Fifth Avenue appeared to be in a very giving mood this season. Door prizes raffled off at its holiday luncheon Tuesday included two Ritz-Carlton weekend trips, a Roberto Coin bracelet, a Carolina Herrera mink stole and a Badgley Mischka handbag, and guests like Judy Licht and Hal Rubinstein were treated to a goody bag filled with loot like a Missoni scarf, a Moschino watch, a Michael Kors tote and Dunhill cufflinks. The lunch was hosted by designers Michael Kors, Behnaz Sarafpour, John Varvatos, Ralph Rucci and James Mischka (Mark Badgley couldn’t make it due to back problems that have left him unable to sit, said Mischka).

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