ROOM SERVICE: No black box for Frida Giannini. The creative director of Gucci will unveil a new-look space for her runway show today that fits what she describes as a "warm, golden, sexy and luxurious" vision for the Italian brand. Gucci said the overhauled venue took one month to build. The entrance rotunda will feature floor-to-ceiling windows, rosewood floors and a big chandelier. In the show space itself, Giannini kept the mirrored back wall, but it will reflect a glossy rosewood runway and "sleek bronze benches." Expect the decor to be reprised in Los Angeles come Nov. 16, when Giannini will host her first major event there: the annual Children's Action Network gala at the new home of Eva and Michael Chow. Members of the host committee include Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks and Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg.

SMELLS LIKE CLEAN SPIRIT: Could there be a perfume in Marni's near future? The presence of Manuel Puig in the front row Tuesday morning certainly gave that impression. "We're friends," Puig said, gesturing to Marni chief executive Giovanni Castiglioni nearby. "We even vacation together." Puig was being coy, but he allowed that were Marni to launch a fragrance, he would at least offer his advice. Meanwhile, Castiglioni's daughter, Carolina, dressed head to toe in Marni, was busy escorting buyers from Lane Crawford and other stores to their seats. The 24-year-old, after receiving a degree in fashion business in Milan, has been working in Marni's commercial department for the past year, overseeing the Middle East and Far East markets. "I was born in the fashion world," she said. "I love it."

SIMONS SAYS: Raf Simons won't take his first bow for Jil Sander until next January, but on Tuesday night he was a company man, taking in the second Prada show. He characterized it as a "relaxing way" to get to know the company — not that he hasn't been digging into the big job of creative director. He said he already has hired five people for his team, while lauding the talent already sheltered in the design studios. "They have the hand of Jil," he said. Also at the show was actress and designing woman Milla Jovovich, checking out Prada's latest style statement. "I love Miuccia," Jovovich gushed. "She's an artist and she's incredible with fabrics and textures." And as if that wasn't enough excitement for one Prada show, a PETA protester leapt on to the runway shouting antifur slogans at the top of his lungs, startling Jovovich until the security detail spirited him off.WEDDING BELLE: John Ray, in charge of the men's department at Gucci, has been dabbling in women's wear — in his off hours. In fact, he's evidently united with his old colleague, a certain Tom Ford, to help create a dress for the recent nuptials of Ford's longtime assistant, Whitney Bromberg, who wed Peter Hawkings, a member of Ray's design team. And proof that past and present Gucci folk remain a happy family, the newlyweds were invited to a celebration dinner at the swank new home of Ford and his partner, Richard Buckley.

CAMERA READY: Giorgio Armani is so pleased with his Emporio Armani advertising campaigns over the years that he's displaying them at his Via Manzoni store through Oct. 8. The exhibit consists of 200 photographs from Emporio Armani's in-house magazine and advertising campaigns from 1989 through this year. The designer hosted an inaugural cocktail Monday night at Nobu. Clad in his signature navy pants and a very uncharacteristic white shirt open to reveal a tanned chest, Armani said he was happy to infuse his ads with a youthful, fashionable spirit rather than resort to shock tactics or the nudity so prevalent in Nineties' advertising. "I'm angry at myself for agreeing to give up this type of advertising campaign, which was really great," he said. Evidently he thinks the Via Bergognone is really great, too. He has just bought the old Nestlé factory on the strip across the street from his show and event space. Armani will use the factory for offices and as a permanent home for the items currently touring the world as the Guggenheim exhibit. Armani will once again turn to architect Tadao Ando for the project.

INJURED ITALIANS: Vogue's Anna Wintour may be cohosting a dinner to honor up-and-coming Italian designers, but her magazine's September article on the "magnificent seven" designers shaping fashion has left many noses in Milan out of joint, since the elite group contained only two Italians: Miuccia Prada and YSL's Stefano Pilati (who designs for a French label). Krizia's Mariuccia Mandelli lashed out in the local press that more Italians should have been featured in the photo shoot. Anna Molinari was just as upfront: "I'm one of the best designers in the world. I'm not offended, but I'm just sorry that they forgot about me." Giorgio Armani declined to take a stand on the issue. "Now's not the moment," he quipped post-Emporio. Tod's chief executive officer Diego Della Valle said he can identify with those excluded, but thinks they need to move on. "This is hysteria that should have been wrapped up in an hour and it's become a national discussion."BAR NONE: Dancers from the Teatro Alla Scala ballet school added a touch of poise to Tuesday morning's Blugirl show, with five teenage dancers working the bar before the models hit the catwalk. "It was a very strange experience because we're so far removed from fashion," said dancer Leana Bertini, 18. But Bertini and her classmates, many of whom attended the show, certainly picked up a few moves. Backstage, losing their impeccable posture, they imitated the exaggerated walk and giggled.

ICE BOX: Iceberg's chief executive Paolo Gerani greeted guests at the reopening of the brand's flagship in Via Montenapoleone on Monday night amid rumors here that his company was talking with Phillips-Van Heusen to produce Calvin Klein's main line. According to a source, however, the "advanced talks came to a halt this summer." Indeed, Gerani squelched the speculation, focusing on the new style of the store, dubbed H-Art — from home and art. "I want to re-create the atmosphere of a home, with the added plus of contemporary art," said Gerani, an avid collector himself. Bright strokes of color from Ugo Rondinone and Giovanni Lombardini contrasted with the gray-and-black decor of the store. Gerani also said that Fabio Giombini, a former Valentino general manager, joined the company as joint general manager of the commercial, retail, marketing, communication and licensing areas, together with Manlio Cocchini. Gerani himself, previously creative director of Iceberg and executive vice president, is now sole ceo.

CANAL ROUTE: "There's always a good reason not to leave Venice," according to Marie Brandolini, a frequent hostess of that city's swankiest social gatherings. But she found one on Tuesday and made a rare front-row appearance at the Emilio Pucci show. "Laudomia [Pucci] has been asking me to come for years, so I finally did," she said, posing for photos with her friend.

PASSWORD: Passing notes isn't just for high school anymore. Retailer Janet Brown, a big fan of Sophia Loren, couldn't resist dispatching a few lines to the screen legend when she saw her dining a few tables away at Bice on Monday night. Brown said the note sat unread on her table for about 40 minutes, but the fact that Brown and Loren have only one degree of separation — the same heart doctor — caught her interest. Loren came over to Brown's table and they chatted like old friends.SHE SAID YES: Gucci Westman, celebrity makeup artist and international artistic director for Lancôme, soon will wed her boyfriend of one-and-a-half years, David Neville, one of the founders and designers of the Rag & Bone denim line. Neville dashed to Cartier last Thursday to buy a ring and proposed over the weekend during a picnic in Central Park's Sheep's Meadow. The sweet, low-key ploy was enough to woo an already smitten Westman, who happily said yes.

STANDING ROOM: "Not my fault!" Natalie Imbruglia chirped to the photographers about her very, very late arrival to the Alberta Ferretti show on Tuesday. In fact, the Australian songbird and L'Oréal spokesmodel missed most of the fashion show thanks to Milan's nightmarish traffic. She watched the final 10 minutes standing next to the photo pit and craning her neck for a better view. Imbruglia said she's gearing up for a European tour in November, but she wasn't looking for stage costumes. What will she wear then? "Probably jeans," she replied. "I don't really dress up on stage. I jump around a lot."

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