SHOW TALK: Forget what was on the runways. The talk of the New York season was mainly about one thing: travel plans. Buyers and press nervously checked with each other to find out whether they had altered or canceled their trips to the European shows, which kick off Saturday in London. Their fear mainly is of being trapped in Europe if war breaks out against Iraq. So far, most plans remain in place, with Saks Fifth Avenue sending two fashion managers to London and Barneys New York sending a team of five people led by Julie Gilhart, its vice president of fashion merchandising.

And while there are tanks parked at Heathrow Airport, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg insisted that the growing warnings over a potential terrorist attack shouldn’t spook residents. At a news conference Thursday, Bloomberg vowed that law enforcement agencies will do everything possible to keep New Yorkers safe and that people “should not be paralyzed by fear.”

THE COLLECTOR: Chloë Sevigny arrived even before the ever-prompt Anna Wintour for the Balenciaga show on Thursday afternoon and waited expectantly in her front-row seat. “I’ve been wearing Nicolas’ clothes since his second season at Balenciaga,” she said. “I have a storage space in Connecticut filled with racks of clothes he’s designed.” And just how did she come to join the cult of Ghesquière? “I’m hip to the underground, you know,” the star noted.

TO RUSSIA, WITH LUXE: Chanel staged another couture show this week in Paris — for an audience of one. Well, one plus her 20-strong entourage. Russia’s first lady, Ludmilla Putin, was treated to a small runway show at Chanel’s Rue Cambon headquarters while her husband, Vladimir Putin, visited French officials. After viewing couturier Karl Lagerfeld’s delicate frocks and suits, Putin toured the couture ateliers and Coco Chanel’s office and private apartment. An hour later, she left with a Chanel bag and several bottles of fragrance — compliments of the house, of course.

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