SHOWING OFF: “My show is already over!” Christian Lacroix declared with a hearty laugh last week, discussing his plans for Paris fashion week Oct. 7-14. As reported, Lacroix will not stage a runway show, nor a presentation for his ready-to-wear collections this season. In lieu, the couturier went through the motions of show preparations at his atelier last week — and photographed the results. These will be dispatched in DVD format, along with music, so editors and retailers can get a sense of his direction for the season. “It’s much more the mood of backstage,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nicolas Ghesquière, who’s also skipping the runway this season, enumerated his contingency plans for Balenciaga. He’s scheduled a press presentation with models on Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. in his showroom on Rue Cassette — the same day he shoots a video used in Balenciaga stores. There will be subsequent presentations for buyers and appointments with editors to view the collection throughout fashion week. “We really want to welcome everyone in our new showroom,” said a Balenciaga spokesman. But editors invited to attend the event will have to make choices. Swiss firm Akris has organized a runway show off calendar that same day, same time. “We’re disappointed,” an Akris spokeswoman said about the overlap. “We hope our loyal supporters will turn out.” The Balenciaga spokesman also downplayed the conflict, since “there will be many opportunities in the week to see the Balenciaga collection.”

WHAT THE DIVA WEARS: Renée Fleming, the soprano singing Violetta in Verdi’s “La Traviata” at tonight’s season opener at the Metropolitan Opera, will make her arrival in a burgundy brocade gown by Oscar de la Renta, with matching ruby and diamond drop earrings and broaches from Harry Winston.

“I met Oscar in Paris last summer and he said he’d love to do something for me,” Fleming said. “We went through the book for the season and Oscar pulled out one of the gowns that was perfect. It’s almost a tribute to Violetta, and built like the costumes in the show.”Fleming generally tours the opera houses of the world in Gianfranco Ferré or Issey Miyake, but now that her schedule has increased, she’s realized the advantages of shopping several houses.

“I really love it,” Fleming said. “I call it one of the perks of being a diva.”

CIAO GIGI?: Sources in Milan say Gigi Vezzola is leaving his post as creative director at Samsonite Blacklabel. Reached by phone, Vezzola declined to comment, although he said he will be present at the spring presentation on Thursday. Vezzola, who previously worked at Krizia and Dolce & Gabbana, was tapped by Samsonite in 2000. A spokesman at Samsonite said the company was “not aware” that Vezzola had plans to leave.

ARMANI’S WELCOMING: To launch the new 1,600-square-foot Giorgio Armani boutique at Bergdorf Goodman tonight, the company is teaming with the monthlong Artwalk promotion with a cocktail party hosted by Peter Jennings. Armani will preview 50 pieces of art that will be auctioned by Sotheby’s at the end of October, benefiting the Coalition for the Homeless and including works by Donald Baechler, Jenny Holzer, Cindy Sherman, Cecily Brown, Vanessa Beecroft and Matthew Barney. Some of the works will remain in the second-floor Armani department and in Bergdorf’s Fifth Avenue windows through Oct. 22.

UNINVITED GUESTS: If rtw designers can invade couture week, why shouldn’t activewear makers gain a sneaker-shod foothold in Paris’ rtw parade? Not only is Adidas staging a show for its Yohji Yamamoto-designed Y-3 collection on Oct. 9, Nike is crashing the party, too. It invited 25 Japanese artists to present works inspired by its 1986 white “Dunk” shoe and is exhibiting them at the Palais de Tokyo art museum Oct. 9-12. The show is then slated to travel to New York and Tokyo.

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