HE WANTS TO BE A PART OF IT?: Is Nicolas Ghesquière, who electrified New York fashion week last year by decamping his Balenciaga show from Paris, getting ready for an encore? Sources say the designer is mulling another Manhattan showing, which might coincide with the opening of his Chelsea flagship. A spokesman for the designer stressed "nothing has been decided." Meanwhile in Paris, Balenciaga fanatics are anxiously awaiting the reopening of the half of the George V boutique closed for renovation for since July. Word is that it will reopen early in the year, exposing a décor designed with input by contemporary artist Dominique Gonzales-Foerster.

THE MOD SQUAD: With mod looks in swing for spring, Mary Quant is experiencing a revival of sorts. The designer was in town this week perusing Henri Bendel’s wares and even attended a party at the store Monday night that was thrown by Hilary Swank and Anna Wintour. Quant is said to be enjoying her haute status, given that her cosmetics and pieces of her ready-to-wear collection will be carried by Bendel’s come spring.

HOT DRAMA: For a production that requires its two cast members to wear only one outfit apiece during the run of the show, outfitting Neil LaBute’s "The Mercy Seat" wasn’t as simple as it might appear. "We had trouble with the costumes," said Sigourney Weaver at an opening night party on Wednesday at the Donna Karan New York flagship on Madison Avenue, held there because the designer provided the stage wardrobe. In the play, Weaver and Liev Schreiber portray co-workers involved in an affair and the decisions they make on the day after 9/11.

"We wanted her to look like a boss, but it was the day after Sept. 11, and she was going to the deli, so it had to be more casual," Weaver said. She wears a jersey cowl neck blouse and loose pants in the play, but no shoes while walking around her apartment. "I got to wear red toenail polish on stage. That was fun."

Things really heated up at the party, when early arrivals suddenly noticed the air smelled like smoke.

A store manager quickly found the problem — a gown hanging too close to the party lights had begun to smolder — and saw a silver lining: "Our vintage dresses are really on fire," he cracked.

DEAR JOHN: How much is that superstar couturier in the window? Pedestrians recently strolling by the soon-to-be-opened John Galliano boutique on Rue Saint Honore in Paris might have asked themselves just that. There Galliano stood, on the staircase in his still empty shop, conducting a meeting with about six colleagues. But the newspaper shielding the interior will soon go back up. The boutique is not slated to open until some time in January, as the yet-to-be-installed kitchen sink attested.

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