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Fashion Scoops: Seeing Red … People Leaving People … Top of the Pops …

SEEING RED: Many a designer has dubbed the Oscar red carpet as the world's greatest runway. But what if the Olympics of award shows is bumped up to February -- smack in the middle of the European collections? That could be a reality come 2004 if the...

SEEING RED: Many a designer has dubbed the Oscar red carpet as the world’s greatest runway. But what if the Olympics of award shows is bumped up to February — smack in the middle of the European collections? That could be a reality come 2004 if the governing board of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences moves up the date. The 40-member board voted last week to explore changing the Oscar telecast from late March — a date that has conveniently followed the last week of collections and allowed designers and their representatives to flock to Los Angeles in order to woo A-listers into their recently shown gowns. Hollywood critics of the March date hope to cut the campaign season, which has become increasingly costly and controversial, not to mention circumvent the rising clutter of competing award shows scheduled before the Oscars that have siphoned away part of the thrill — not to mention viewership: last March 25’s show had its lowest ratings in the U.S. in 15 years. For the fashion flock — from celebrity stylists and designers to fashion editors and the consuming masses — the change would shift an already hectic month into overdrive. It would also force the question: do designers risk holding a photo-worthy look for the Oscar sweepstakes in the hopes that a star will turn up wearing it, or do they save it for the runway?

PEOPLE LEAVING PEOPLE: How has Martha Nelson dealt with the turnover among her staff since she replaced Carol Wallace in April? Well, last week, she threw a party for newly departing and arriving staffers. Held in a conference room at the magazine’s midtown offices Thursday afternoon, Nelson celebrated the departures of senior editor Sonja Steptoe, who will become a senior L.A. correspondent for sister publication Time Magazine; associate picture editor Donna Bender, who’s going over to In Touch Magazine to head its photo department, and associate editor Sophfronia Scott. A fourth staffer, senior writer Michelle Tauber, is moving to Orlando, but will continue in her post. Nelson also marked the hires of J.D. Heyman, formerly a senior writer at Us, as well as a couple of researchers and technology staffers.

TOP OF THE POPS: What do Justin Timberlake and Christian Lacroix have in common? Both are coming out with albums this fall. Lacroix, in conjunction with the record label Naive, is coming out with Patchwork, a compilation CD of some of his favorite tunes. Tracks range from Marianne Faithfull and electro pop to selections from some of his runway shows. Lacroix plans to hand out a “teaser” of the disc at his couture show Tuesday. Meanwhile, Naive plans to make Lacroix’s album the first in a series featuring fashion designers’ favorite music.

EYE TO EYE: Four days away from the kick-off of couture week in Paris, Azzedine Alaia has not yet pinpointed when he will show his next collection. “Either July 11 or 15,” he said Tuesday. Meanwhile, other design projects are looming. As reported, Alaia has already designed an eyewear collection and he confirmed it will be a collaboration with Alain Mikli. And next up: an Alaia fragrance. But details are still forthcoming — like that next collection.

THE LOEWE DOWN: LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton is said to be taking a close look at some of its underperforming fashion divisions and planning changes. For one, Loewe is considering somewhat scaling back its ready-to-wear presentations to put the spotlight more on leather goods. In the past, Loewe has staged major runway shows during Paris fashion week. Meanwhile, word has it management shifts could be in the offing at some other LVMH brands.