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REGALLY BLONDE: Betty Catroux, one of the glitziest members of retired couturier Yves Saint Laurent’s inner circle, has quickly adapted to Tom Ford’s new direction at Rive Gauche. On Monday, she had staff at the YSL boutique on Faubourg Saint-Honore in a tizzy as she tried on side-laced leather pants and stacks of other clothes. “I’m losing my head in here,” she exclaimed. Meanwhile, Saint Laurent’s couture atelier is on schedule to fill orders on his retirement collection by the end of October. Couture boss Pierre Bergé said the house is still negotiating with its workers over terms of the house’s closure.
MOVING ON UP — AND OUT: Georgina Brandolini, managing director of Balmain, was helping to seat guests at the house’s show Monday. But on the sidelines, she confirmed her exit — effective at the end of October. “I’m going to work in fashion, but I don’t know for whom or if I might work for myself,” she said. Meanwhile, Balmain chief executive Alain Hivelin said the couture workrooms remain open filling orders on the swan song collection of Oscar de la Renta. As for a successor, he said ready-to-wear designer Laurent Mercier is definitely a candidate. “It’s a possibility, but not a decision.”
REVVED UP: Jean Paul Gaultier, living up to his reputation as a fashion provocateur, hired a squadron of Hells Angels on Harley-Davidsons Sunday night to whisk editors between his new shop on the Avenue Georges V and his newly remodeled flagship on the Rue Vivienne. Although star guest Catherine Deneuve declined to hop aboard, Gaultier burst into giggles as he jumped on a hog and blasted down the Champs Elysées. Earlier, Gaultier chatted with guests, including Hermès president Jean-Louis Dumas, as they inspected the new Philippe Starck-designed boutiques. “It’s so white and new,” laughed the designer, spilling champagne as he was jostled by the crowd. “Oh, not to worry. Spilling champagne brings good luck.”
MAIDEN VOYAGE: Chantal Roos wasn’t the only beauty heavyweight at the Yves Saint Laurent show Monday night. Seated front row was Lindsay Owen-Jones, L’Oréal’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Domenico De Sole and I are old sailing friends,” he explained. “We were talking about the America’s Cup, and he said ‘Why don’t you see another form of competition — what we’re doing with Yves Saint Laurent?’ So, I decided to come for the first time.”
ALMOST READY: Azzedine Alaïa confirmed Monday he’s planning to show his next collection during the couture shows in January. Alaïa will join Yohji Yamamoto, who last July started showing rtw on the couture schedule. Alaïa might preview his new eyewear line, too.
AN EYEFUL: As a warm-up to the official Legion of Honor ceremony Wednesday, Philip Miller was feted Monday at the spectacular Paris apartment of Isabelle and Hubert d’Ornano, owners of the cosmetics firm Sisley. Miller recalled his reaction when he first walked into the place in the late Seventies, when he was an executive at Neiman Marcus. “I went, ‘Wow,’” he recalled. “I’d never seen anything like that in Dallas.” Guests including Emanuel Ungaro came by and craned their necks at the trail of giant snail sculptures leading up the ceiling. When asked what was his favorite object in the apartment, jam-packed with modernist paintings and sculptures, Miller responded: “That’s easy. The d’Ornanos.”