HOW DO YOU DEFINE A VOGUE COVER?: Well, if you’re Posh ‘n Becks, the cover of the magazine’s special men’s outsert bagged with the September issue just barely qualifies. Despite reports to the contrary, Victoria and David Beckham won’t land on the September cover itself, despite their best lobbying efforts. That honor will go to CFDA-certified fashion icon Nicole Kidman, said a source close to the magazine. A Vogue spokesman declined comment on Kidman, but confirmed the Beckhams will appear on the satellite title with an interior spread by Mario Testino and an accompanying profile. The Beckhams are in the midst of a full-court press on America in an attempt to parlay their U.K. celebrity into global stardom. The pair spent last week in Los Angeles chatting up agents and managers following a similar blitz on the New York media world.

ALMOST POST TIME: Many of the 100,000 expected to turn up for Saturday’s running of the Belmont Stakes are preoccupied with looking their best. But all Empire Maker’s trainer Bobby Frankel wants is for all eyes to be on his horse in the winner’scircle. Referring to Empire Maker’s bid to stop Funny Cide from winning the Triple Crown, Frankel said, “I hope everybody hates me after Saturday. I want to be the villain.”

MUSICAL FOUR-EYES: Carlos Santana is Hamptons-bound to show off his new signature eyewear. The Grammy award winner is expected at Saturday’s fashion show benefit at David Sarner’s Cabana restaurant in Southampton. Each pair of glasses is named after a Santana song, as in “Maria Maria” and “Game of Love.” The complete line ships to stores at the end of next month.

HOWDY, LUCA: New York-based ready-to-wear designer Luca Orlandi is expected to open a 1,500-square-foot Luca Luca store at the Galleria Mall in Houston. It will be the brand’s seventh location — it has two boutiques on Madison Avenue in New York and locations in Chicago; Palm Beach and Bal Harbour, Fla., and at Highland Park Village in Dallas. Though final details are in the works, the shop is expected to open in December or January.

WORKING CLASS: Never mind the widespread public-sector strikes in Paris Tuesday, as workers continued to protest pension reform. At its annual meeting, Hermès International had seven of its leather goods artisans hammering, cutting, polishing and stitching Kelly and Birkin bags on stage as shareholders filed into an auditorium at the Palais de Congres. The noisy assembly line was designed to help wave goodbye to 2002, designated the “Year of the Hand” by the French luxury firm. But, of course, life isn’t all about work. It’s a beach, too. Hermès has declared 2003 the “Year of the Mediterranean.”PRIME REAL ESTATE: Geoffrey Bradfield, Victoria Hagan, Mario Buatta and Alexa Hampton are among the designers pitching in at “Rooms with a View,” Architectural Digest’s first designer showcase at One Central Park’s new condos at AOL Time Warner Center. Their handiwork will be open to the public for three weeks in October.

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