MORE HUMAN THAN HUMAN: What is it about Nicole Kidman that wins her Oscars and a spot on Tom Ford’s arm? Beauty? Talent? Her utter lack of empathy? The latter caught Lars von Trier’s eye. That quality led the Danish director/provocateur to cast her in his latest deconstruction of Hollywood clichés, this year’s Cannes Film Festival hit, “Dogville.” In the next issue of Black Book, he tells fellow director Paul Thomas Anderson, “I liked Nicole very much, or anyway, I liked her character, Grace, very much, because she’s a little more aggressive, a little more human than the other characters I’ve worked with.”

“Wait,” Anderson asks, “is that because she’s a more human character or a more human actor?”

After a long pause, von Trier replies, “It’s because she’s a more human character and a less human actress…” Come again? “I like the inhuman quality of Nicole…I know it sounds negative, but it’s not really meant to be.”

MADE IN MANHATTAN: Louis Vuitton is quickly getting into a New York state of mind. Gearing up for the Feb. 10 opening of the biggest Vuitton store in the world at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, the French luxury brand unveiled in Paris last week a few of the exclusive products slated to debut there. These include a new permanent travel line, dubbed Giant Damier after its large-scale checkerboard-patterned canvas. Made of the same durable fiber commonly found in mountain-climbing ropes, the rugged, casual collection spans small shoulder bags up to big rolling suitcases. In a decidedly more girlie vein is a charm bracelet sprouting a single motif: a Big Apple, of course. It comes in red-tinted gold, with a single green-tinted leaf, and retails for about $2,600. For those looking for more bling-bling, there arebejeweled versions that start at about $25,000.

DOODLING DO-GOODERS: Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Paul Gaultier, John Galliano and Christian Lacroix have all decided to reach out and touch someone. In an attempt to spread the love, more than 30 designers have agreed to sketch heart motifs that French mobile phone users can download onto their screens to raise funds for a French AIDS charity. The drawings, available until Jan. 31, can be downloaded for about $3.CAVALLI IN NY?: Maybe hosting the Columbus Day parade has given Roberto Cavalli a taste for the Big Apple. A spokeswoman for the designer said that he’s mulling the idea of showing next season’s Just Cavalli collection in New York and hosting a massive after-party and art exhibition, but a decision has yet to be made even though the clock’s ticking — and it’s pretty safe to assume that a Cavalli fete will require quite a bit of preparation.

Cavalli is even taking on the Broadway scene. He'll be dressing Nancy Lemeninger, the female lead in “Never Gonna Dance” that opens on Broadway Dec. 4, for the opening party at the Marriott Marquis Hotel. She'll be wearing Cavalli's deep V-neck flowing green and white gown.The show is based on the 1936 Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers movie “Swing Time.”

SING A SONG: Who knew that Kathy Bronstein, former head of Wet Seal Inc., had a little Frank Sinatra in her? Talking about her unceremonious ouster in February, Bronstein belted out the lyrics to “My Way” to an applauding crowd of 180 at the recent Textile Association of Los Angeles’ 47th Annual Scholarship Awards Luncheon. In her speech to the students — 21 of whom earned scholarships totaling more than $10,000 — she described the passion and resiliency found in the apparel industry. “You can stretch us so thin like a rubber band, but if you let go, we’ll bounce back,” she said.

For now, Bronstein is consulting with Guess Inc. and others, while exploring opportunities. She thinks the junior world needs a “good kick in the pants” to shift gears away from “overplayed” casual looks. Any internal satisfaction from Wet Seal’s continued sales losses? “I hate to see the consumer fall out of love with Wet Seal,” she lamented. “I just wish them the best.”

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