RED ALERT: Could Nicole Kidman and Baz Luhrmann, two Australians who made magic together with “Moulin Rouge,” be ready for a small-screen encore? Word has it Chanel is zeroing in on a deal with Luhrmann to direct Kidman in a television commercial for a Chanel fragrance. Kidman has been in talks to become the new face of the luxury brand.

WHAT’S COOKING? Plenty of fashion deals have been hatched at Azzedine Alaïa’s dinner table. So could Diego Della Valle be cooking up one to have Alaïa design leather jackets for his high-flying Tod’s brand? Della Valle, who plans to expand his apparel offering after launching a leather jacket this fall, told WWD last week he wants to work with “the best designers in the world.” He declined to elaborate, but didn’t flinch when Alaïa’s name was mentioned as a possibility. Lo and behold, the Tod’s chief was among guests at a dinner Alaïa hosted Friday night in honor of Peggy Moffitt of Rudi Gernreich fame. Not that Alaïa was the only design great around for Della Valle to schmooze. Also on hand were Rei Kawakubo, Jil Sander and Hedi Slimane, to name but a few.

FASHION THAW: She’s often at the couture shows, but French First Lady Bernadette Chirac sat down to see her very first ready-to-wear show on Sunday when she attended Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche at the invitation of Maryvonne Pinault, wife of François Pinault, the French tycoon who controls Gucci Group. Chirac recognized the diplomatic significance of her presence. When asked if she was symbolically extending an olive branch to the United States by attending American Tom Ford’s show, she replied: “You could say that.”

BENCH MARKS: It was a case of dueling model divas when Kate Moss, Stella Tennant and Natalia Vodianova were among the front-row lineup at the Chanel show Friday. The trio were in stitches watching the models on the runway vamp it up just for them. “I don’t have to deal with any of the fittings or the whole backstage ordeal,” Moss said afterward. “It’s nice to be able to just sit and watch,” Vodianova agreed. The Russian supermodel wore a vintage Celine dress she said she picked up in New York for $400. But vintage can sometimes have its down side, as she concealed a stain on the front of her dress by holding her purse in front of it. Down the row, French actress Audrey Tautou of “Amelie” fame was taking a break from filming her next movie, “A Very Long Engagement,” directed by “Amélie’s” Jean-Pierre Jeunet. “I have been very busy,” she said. “But I really like Karl so I made the time to come to his show.” Meanwhile, Tennant, who is sitting front row at Paris shows doing a story for American Vogue, decided life is tough in the editorial pit. “It’s vicious,” she said. “It’s not the front row. It’s the front line.”
ROYALS AND RICHES: Garrard, where the crown jeweler David Thomas and Jade Jagger work side-by-side, is planning to stage a major jewelry exhibition at London’s Somerset House next fall focusing on its past and present designs — as well as future projects. It will run from September through December 2004. Gianluca Brozzetti, chief executive of A&G Group, Garrard’s parent, said the 268-year-old company has already begun securing jewels and historical pieces from royal houses across Europe.Separately, Garrard is funding a competition for students at London’s Royal College of Art, asking them to create a luxury item that would appeal to its clientele. The students’ designs will be displayed both at the RCA’s summer show and at Garrard’s Somerset House exhibition.

DID COLUMBUS WEAR FUR?: Can a parade happen in New Yorkwithout a controversy? Apart from the annual controversy of celebrating Christopher Columbus’ “discovery” of America, this year’s selection of Italian designer Roberto Cavalli as its Grand Marshall for the parade has ruffled the feathers of the folks over at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who decry his use of fur in his collections. Of course, a year ago, people were complaining that actors from “The Sopranos” walked in the parade because they portray characters who evoke certain unfavorable stereotypes about Italians.PETA’s argument goes roughly the same way, as outlined in a letter sent to parade organizers by fur campaign coordinator Lisa Franzetta: “As an Italian-American, I would be embarrassed to have the bloodied hands of Mr. Cavalli representing our culture and values.” PETA plans a protest at the parade.

SMOKING ALLOWED: There was more than a whiff of Yves Saint Laurent in the parade of tuxedos that concluded the Viktor & Rolf show on Friday. And former YSL couture boss Pierre Bergé, sitting in the front row, gave the collection an enthusiastic thumbs-up. “It was magnificent,” he said after the show. “Let’s be clear: There are so few real clothes out there — and these were real clothes. These guys are very, very talented.” Celine president Jean-Marc Loubier, scouting for a successor to Michael Kors, must agree, since he attended the show as well. Bergé, who recently lent a hand for the Jean Cocteau retrospective in Paris, has been kicking around a few ideas for a new book. “But it’s not coming for the moment,” he said, adding that he and Saint Laurent next March will inaugurate the YSL foundation at the old couture headquarters on the Avenue Marceau. “We think the first exhibit will be called ‘Yves Saint Laurent and the Arts,’” he said. “It’s a very rich subject.”

IN TUNE: It looks like Nineties model Carla Bruni has traded in stilettos for falsettos for good. “I’m working on another album, which should be in English and come out next year,” Bruni said Thursday at a dinner at the stunning Baccarat headquarters designed by her friend Phillipe Starck. Bruni’s folksy first album, “Quelq’un m’a dit,” is a big hit in Europe, and she’s now planning a series of concerts in Paris for February. “I’m putting all my energy into music,” she said. “But I miss fashion a lot because it was really good fun team work.” Meanwhile, Starck’s wife, Nori, is putting all her effort into their growing family. Her daughter, K, is 13 months old, and another girl is on the way. Her name is already chosen: Lago, which means lake. “I liked the sound of it,” Starck said. “I wanted something Italian and Guiseppe wouldn’t work.” Meanwhile, Lago will arrive before Nori’s forthcoming maternity line, which won’t hit stores until fall 2004, she said.

MODEL BEHAVIOR: Eva Herzigova may have made her first foray into fashion via her line of itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny-polkadot bikinis, but the statuesque supermodel has her eyes set on greater things. Herzigova, who welcomed everyone from Miuccia Prada to Vogue’s Anna Wintour at her swimwear launch party on Thursday, said she hopes to introduce a line of sunglasses next year and then open a spa. “Everyone has dreams,” she said. Where were the clothes? On a video, which featured one of Herzigova’s friends visiting tourist attractions — in a bikini, of course.

ITALIAN ACCENT: French designer Gilles Rosier, who was just replaced as the women’s designer of Kenzo by Sardinia-based Antonio Marras, is doing some business in Italy himself. Rosier has struck a partnership with textile and apparel maker Miroglio Vestebene to develop his signature label. Rosier seems to be at the cusp of a trend in which French designers partner with Italian manufacturers. Jean-Paul Knott, formerly the designer of Krizia Top, is said to be in talks with the Italian firm Anteprima to make his signature line.

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