SHARING THE WEALTH: The color red usually has negative connotations in stock market terms, but Valentino Fashion Group is working to change that. The new company, which came to be when Marzotto spun off its fashion interests, made its trading debut on the Milan bourse last week and it did so in style. Mannequins wearing 30 vintage Valentino gowns — all of them red — graced the floor of the Milan stock exchange as Valentino Garavani, Marzotto ceo Antonio Favrin and Valentino Fashion Group ceo Michele Norsa mingled with bankers and press at a brief ceremony marking the occasion.

"When do we give them some shares?," Giancarlo Giammetti, Valentino's historic business partner, joked to Norsa amid a crowd of fashion journalists. Garavani beamed. "It's a really great satisfaction to be in this great temple, where I never would have expected to be," he said, just minutes before presenting a silver box with a gold V on it to Borsa Italiana ceo Massimo Capuano as a gift. Several fashion journalists got a crash course in financial jargon as they watched the shares rally more than 6 percent in their first trading session to close at 20.20 euros on Friday. Shares in Marzotto, which retains control of the group's textile operations and other non-core assets, didn't fare as well, declining 5.8 percent to 2.33 euros. As Favrin put it: "the investor is the final judge."

IN THE BAG: It looks like Gucci Group has secured a new designer to head up its leather goods business at Yves Saint Laurent — by poaching from luxury rival LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton. According to a Paris source, Raphaelle Hanley, who has worked at Louis Vuitton since 1998, will soon join YSL in Paris. Hanley will fill a position vacant since the April exit of Simonetta Ciampi, the design director of leather goods who came up with the horn-handled Mombasa bag.

RING LEADER: Fashion and sport could be on a collision course in Paris Wednesday when the couture shows kick off — and the International Olympic Committee announces the winning host for the 2012 Olympic games. Considered a strong contender, Paris has already planned a variety of events, including a victory ball that evening, should it triumph over New York, London, Moscow and Madrid. And chances are Parisians will spontaneously invade the Champs Elysees to celebrate, provoking traffic chaos. Paris bartenders are prepared, dreaming up special Olympic cocktails for people to celebrate until the wee hours.

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