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SNOW WHITE: Karl Lagerfeld may have had an early call Wednesday morning for his Lagerfeld Gallery show at 10:30. But, of course, the busiest man in fashion had accomplished plenty before that. Awakening to a blanket of fresh snow, a rarity in Paris, Lagerfeld grabbed his cameras and headed out to his garden to document it. “There’s nothing more beautiful than snow on a landscape like that,” he said backstage. “But you have to do it right away, because after three hours, it’s dirty.”
HAIR APPARENT: “The hair is here,” one guest declared at the MAC party Tuesday night when guest of honor Diana Ross entered the room. Certainly, there was no missing the music legend, especially in an updo, as she made her way through the Relais Plaza restaurant. Encountering Betty Catroux on the way to her table, Ross held out her hand and said, “How are you? I saw you at the show today,” referring to the Christian Dior show that morning. Catroux, the nucleus of the Yves Saint Laurent tribe, couldn’t hide her puzzlement, but just played along. “We had dinner 20 years ago,” Catroux explained later. “She even sang for us in the car. It was fabulous.” Ross didn’t sing for her supper, but a budding recording artist, Vanessa Brown, did. Also paying homage to Ross were designers Loulou de la Falaise, Christian Louboutin, Victoire de Castellane and Nathalie Rykiel. Marisa Berenson, whose friendship with Ross goes back to Berenson’s L.A. days, said she’s still awed by the diva’s presence. “She’s extraordinary to watch, and there’s nothing like that voice,” Berenson said.
WHERE’S TOMMY?: Curious showgoers wondered Wednesday why Tommy Hilfiger wasn’t at the Lagerfeld Gallery fashion show in Paris, considering how excited Hilfiger was about his company buying Lagerfeld’s business. But Hilfiger had a legitimate excuse.
“I just got back from Elmira,” said the designer Wednesday. “My mother’s sister passed away. She helped my mother raise all nine of her children.” Hilfiger said he was supposed to fly to Paris Tuesday night, but instead went to his aunt’s funeral that afternoon. “I was ready to go and was very excited,” he said.
Hilfiger said his 84-year-old aunt, who lived with his mother, died of lymphoma. “We thought she was really strong six months ago, but the past few weeks she began deteriorating. She passed out over the weekend, and my mother took her to the hospital where she died Sunday,” he said. “She was like a second mother to me.”
Although Hilfiger couldn’t make it, his top brass was well-represented at the show, with David Dyer, chief executive officer of Hilfiger, Ann Acierno, president of new business development, and George Kolasa, senior vice president of global marketing at the Lagerfeld division, all in attendance.
OH BABY: Stella McCartney will be playing hooky from her fashion show in Paris this morning, having decided to stay in London with her six-day-old son, Miller Willis. But her sister, Mary, will be there to represent the McCartney clan.
THE RIO WORLD: Never mind the subzero temperatures outside. A ballroom at the Crillon hotel throbbed with hot Brazilian beats to kick off a year of Brazil in France. Brazilian designers showed up in force, including Alexandre Herchcovitch. There was an Italian partying in the crowd, too: Givenchy’s new designer, Riccardo Tisci, who was awed by the view of snow falling over Place de la Concorde. “Who wouldn’t want to move here?” Tisci said.
CHILD’S PLAY: You never know whom you might meet backstage at a fashion show. To wit: At Andrew Gn Wednesday morning was Kifu Augousti who, at 10, must be the world’s youngest handbag designer. “I sell them to Barneys New York,” the youngster mentioned casually. Her mother, Ria, explained that Kifu’s design career “just sort of happened. She started drawing at five. Now she’s got this following.” Oh, and Kifu is a poet, too. Her latest line of totes is decorated with verse.
GIRL’S BEST FRIENDS: In an anti-Cinderella move, Gwen Stefani slipped into Vivienne Westwood’s diamond launch party Tuesday night just as the clock struck midnight. “The first designer outfit I ever bought was Westwood,” said the pop star, before being whisked away by her bodyguards. Tilda Swinton, just back from New Zealand, where she was filming “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe,” was sporting a new whiter-than-white coif. Apparently, she’s the good witch. “You can leave it to Vivienne Westwood to make safety pins so expensive,” quipped Swinton.
MISSING PERSONS REPORT: Although turnout for Paris Fashion Week is better than Milan, a few front-row and catwalk regulars have been missing in action. The absence of Neiman Marcus Group’s Burt Tansky has been noted, but it turns out he is slated to arrive today, according to Neiman’s Joan Kaner, who ruled out any conspiracy theories. “There are no secrets that I know of,” she quipped Wednesday. Vanity Fair’s Elizabeth Saltzman, deluged with Oscar duties and shoots, also has been absent since Milan, but is slated to arrive Friday. Meanwhile, IMG model Daria Werbowy, usually walking in every big show, has been down and out with the flu.