PRINTEMPS SALE?: PPR, the French conglomerate that owns Gucci Group, could announce as early as today that it will sell its Printemps department store chain, according to sources in Paris. Negotiations were said to have heated up over the weekend, with France's Galeries Lafayette falling out of the bidding. Late Monday, Italy's La Rinascente was thought to be the leading contender for the firm's 17 Printemps stores, including the landmark flagship on Paris' Boulevard Haussmann. Sources said the price would be close to 1 billion euros, or $1.26 billion at current exchange. A PPR spokeswoman declined comment, but speculation has gathered steam over the past week that PPR is eager to divest the business because its margins are too low.

FASHION CREDITS: The fashion world was particularly well represented in the queen's birthday honors roll call this year. Lulu Guinness and Julien Macdonald were both named OBEs, officers of the Order of the British Empire, while Hussein Chalayan received an MBE, as did the founders of the Red or Dead brand, Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway. Joan Burstein, the founder of London's Browns boutique, was honored as a Commander of the British Empire.

However, the most controversial name among the honorees was Philip Green, who received a knighthood. The billionaire retail mogul owns Arcadia Group, the parent company of Topshop, and was honored for his services to the retail industry. While Sir Philip has no doubt raised the bar on the U.K. high street, there have been press reports about his British tax avoidance tactics. Green is based in Monaco, and his shares in Arcadia are in his wife Tina's name, so that he avoids paying U.K. tax rates on his $9 billion fortune.

GARDEN FETE: Everybody loves a garden party, especially Valentino. Famous for his couture-week fetes at his magnificent Chateau de Wideville, the designer called in the European social set Saturday for an early birthday lunch in honor of close friend Doris Brynner, head of Dior's home collection. Guests, including Bernard and Helene Arnault, Princess Ira von Furstenberg, Marie-Chantal of Greece, Baroness Hélène Ludinghausen, Betty and François Catroux and Countess Charlene de Ganay, were treated to an Italian buffet followed by chocolate tart for dessert. "The garden looked glorious," said Georgina Brandolini, who described the event as a "relaxed and emotional moment among friends." But it was the surprise appearance of Brynner's daughter, Victoria, and her two-month-old granddaughter, Isabella, that really turned on the waterworks. The two flew in from Los Angeles just for the occasion.

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