NO, NO NICOLE: This time, she clearly didn’t make it. After last year’s Nicole Kidman contretemps at the Council of Fashion Designer of America Fashion Awards, phantom or not, the actress had to deliver the unfortunate news on Monday that she would not be able to attend the night’s big event after being called back to Los Angeles to reshoot scenes for Robert Benton’s production of “The Human Stain.” (Last year, Kidman reportedly balked from attending after Penélope Cruz’s attendance was announced, although her publicists have firmly denied said events.)

This year, Kidman was to receive the CFDA’s Fashion Icon Award, so she quickly took to the phones to line up a stand-in, the logistics of which were something to behold. At press time, the plan was for a PMK publicist to retrieve none other than past Fashion Icon recipient Lauren Bacall from another benefit for the Irish Repertory Theatre. Bacall was to be chauffeured to the New York Public Library to accept on Kidman’s behalf, then whisked back to her original plans. The connection? Kidman and Bacall became friends while filming two recent projects together — Lars von Trier’s“Dogville” and Jonathan Glazer’s “Birth.”

SLOW NEWS DAY IN MILAN?: There is no end to the rumors surrounding Jil Sander, even now that the designer is back at the company she founded and sold to Prada chief Patrizio Bertelli. The Italian daily Corriere della Sera printed Monday that Sander is in talks with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton to design the Fendi line in exchange for a “significant economic contribution,” which would allow her to buy back her company from Prada. According to the newspaper, these rumors highlight the “cooling relationship” between Fendi’s designer Karl Lagerfeld and LVMH, which controls Fendi. The paper said LVMH is renovating “the entire structure” of the company and finds “too routine-like and tired” the work of Lagerfeld, who has been designing Fendi since 1965.

Fendi ceo Giancarlo Di Risio was not available for comment, as Monday was a national holiday in Italy, and a spokesman for Prada said the company “did not wish to comment on such silly allegations.”

Meanwhile, reached in Paris, Lagerfeld said it was the first he had heard of the rumor, which he dismissed as “ridiculous.” He quipped, “I think it [Jil Sander] would be a bit more expensive than what she could make [working] at Fendi.” Lagerfeld said he had renewed ambitions for Fendi now that Dior president Sidney Toledano will assume extra responsibilities guiding the Rome-based house’s strategy. “There was a bad period [at Fendi]. But it’s over. I think it will improve with Toledano now.”McQUEEN’S KINGS: Alexander McQueen’s first three-day trunk show at his New York store pulled in an impressive receipt: $1.1 million in orders for fall merchandise. Among the bestsellers were hooded fur coats ranging from $3,445 to $8,700, depending on the style; a $1,900 optical check suit and a silk faille kimono evening suit priced at $3,945.

FAMILY VALUES: Cheap-chic retailer Hennes & Mauritz’s upcoming fall advertising campaign will be a pure family affair. Not only will Jade Jagger stage a return appearance for the Swedish firm after starring in their fall 2000 campaign, this time she’s bringing her two daughters — Amber and Assisi — along for the ride. To be lensed by Tom Monroe, the campaign will break in mid-August. An H&M spokeswoman said another famous mother-daughter duo is expected to appear in the campaign, but was mum, since they have yet to confirm.

MR. PERSONALITY: Despite his friends’ jokes, Roberto Cavalli insists he’s not trying to find a new wife by judging tonight’s Miss Universe contest in Panama. The designer said Monday he remains happily married to Eva Duringer, a former contestant whom he first met during an earlier go-round as a judge in 1977.

So what brings him back to the land of evening gowns and swimsuits? “First off: I love the beauty. It’s very important for me to be involved in beauty.”

Cavalli packed a few extra dresses for the show, one of which fellow judge Fernanda Tavares will don. But he was still working on Miss Universe host Daisy Fuentes. “She’s so beautiful. I will try to convince her. Maybe yes, I will do my best.”

As for what it takes to capture the tiara, Cavalli said, “Unfortunately, just the beauty. But I would like to give a prize for personality. I don’t want to speak about intelligence. Sometimes personality goes with the beauty. That’s exactly how I try to design my clothes. The sexy part of the woman is the personality.”

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