LICKETY-SPLIT: Karl Lagerfeld may have dieted his way to become a very slim man who can wear Hedi Slimane’s sleek Dior duds, but he still has a taste for ice cream. Word has it, Lagerfeld’s cruise collection for Chanel, which he will show in Paris later this month, is based on ice cream colors — and bowls of the frozen confection will be served to editors, buyers and clients as the clothes stroll through the hip Paris restaurant, La Suite.

Meanwhile, Lagerfeld thinks Chanel’s couture collection is a moveable feast. He confirmed reports in these columns he plans to stage future Chanel high-fashion shows in New York, figuring couture week in Paris has lost prestige and press attendance as it has become "more of a melting pot," blending ready-to-wear, fur and cottage-industry couture lines. Besides, "a collection can travel, non?" he asks. Chanel has reserved a date in Paris, July 8, but stay tuned. In Lagerfeld’s hands, fashion can change as quickly as ice cream melts.

GOING DUTCH: Acclaimed Dutch design duo Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren have wrapped up an 18-month stint as designers of Onward Kashiyama’s bridge label ICB, or International Concept Brand. Their last collection for the brand will be for fall. A design team will take over thereafter. But for those still seeking a Viktor & Rolf look at a better price have another option — in France at least. The mail-order catalog, La Redoute, has asked the pair to create a small collection for its fall catalog coming out in June. Prices will range from about $100 for a sweater to $260 for a tuxedo. La Redoute’s other guest designers are Vanessa Bruno, Bali Barret, Paul & Joe and Jose Levy.

TITAN TYPE: Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, isn’t the only luxury titan who is the subject of a hard-hitting book in France. A new 170-page tome, "François Pinault’s Endangered Empire," just arrived in bookstores. Written by journalist Francois Roche, its premise is that Pinault may have bitten off more than he can chew when he entered the luxury fray in 1999 and bought Gucci and then Yves Saint Laurent. A chart on the back cover graphs the sinking stock price of Pinault-Printemps-Redoute since that date. No doubt Pinault will be none too pleased with the book, which means he will have something in common with his archrival. As reported, Arnault is suing the author of his unauthorized biography, "Angel Exterminator: The Real Life of Bernard Arnault," and seeking $113,000 for defamation and injury.SHOWTIME: After staging an an off-site extravaganza to launch the signature shoe line of Sydney socialite Terry Biviano in May 2002, the show’s producers were inundated with requests from other Australian designers to pep up their events during Mercedes Australian Fashion Week this year. The result is Wharf 3: a new parallel show schedule staged in a shipping container terminal just around the harbor’s edge from the main MAFW tents at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay.

With a $510,000 cash injection from shopping mall giant Westfield and others, and the razzle-dazzle of big-event producer Tony Assness and Baz Luhrmann’s musical director, Anton Monstead, Wharf 3’s shows have upped the theatrical ante. For Biviano’s second show of racy stilettos and cutaway boots Wednesday, Assness transformed Wharf 3 into a vaudevillian opera, with a dance troupe, high-wire artist, models on horseback and more feathers than a Lido cabaret. Luhrmann confessed he’d also be interested in staging a MAFW fashion show if he could ever find the time. "I think we are in a moment," he said. "We’ve got the product, we’ve got the work, we’ve got the shows. We’ve just got to get the [international press and buyers] to come here."

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