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Fashion Scoops: Sporting Life … Unwelcome Mat … Moonlighting …

SPORTING LIFE: "It’s all about sportif, no?" was the question Karl Lagerfeld posed, as he led a select group of editors around Chanel’s couture salons Sunday, decorated with the newest Chanel sporting goods — surfboards, a kite, even...

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SPORTING LIFE: “It’s all about sportif, no?” was the question Karl Lagerfeld posed, as he led a select group of editors around Chanel’s couture salons Sunday, decorated with the newest Chanel sporting goods — surfboards, a kite, even a dingy, complete with survival equipment. What they saw were more updated Chanel-isms, including shrunken tweed jackets (one even worn inside out), paired with pleated cotton shorts and loaded with beads; delicate evening chiffons, decorated with felt and tulle paillettes and Deauville-inspired navy and white rompers. And the surfboards? Well, Lagerfeld hasn’t tested them personally, since, as he pointed out, “My insurance won’t let me surf.”

Meanwhile, Chanel has a new mademoiselle. French actress Anna Mouglalis, a Chanel aficionado and great pal of Lagerfeld, has been named the ambassador of Chanel fashion, watches and jewelry, starting Oct. 8. Mouglalis, 23, joins the ranks of such famous former Chanel faces as Carole Bouquet and Ines de la Fressange. Mouglalis, who has acted in films like “Merci Pour le Chocolat” and “La Captive,” will also be among the new faces for Chanel’s Allure fragrance in an advertising campaign breaking in March 2003.

UNWELCOME MAT: Is banning journalists the new black? Even Tom Ford is doing it. Le Monde’s fashion critic Laurence Benaim was barred from Ford’s Gucci show in Milan last week — and whether she’ll be welcome at tonight’s YSL show remains in question. “It was a personal decision,” a Gucci Group spokeswoman said about the Gucci ban, declining further comment.

It is believed that Ford took issue with Benaim’s portrayal of him in her updated biography of retired couturier Yves Saint Laurent and in newspaper interviews promoting the book. Benaim said Sunday afternoon she was unsure about YSL, but the Gucci spokeswoman said she would be welcomed. Meanwhile, Benaim is not alone in the penalty box. Cathy Horyn and the entire New York Times team were barred from Helmut Lang’s show on Friday, just like at Lang’s men’s show in Paris last June. Lang wouldn’t comment, but it’s believed he simply doesn’t like the paper’s point of view. Horyn recently described his women’s clothes as heavy, overthought and gimmicky. During the men’s shows, she wrote a review of Lang’s threads based on her photographer’s photos. This time, Horyn said she won’t publish a review or photographs of Lang’s spring 2003 duds. She declined further comment, but offered: “I’d love to see the collection at some point.”

MOONLIGHTING: Yohji Yamamoto is fashion’s newest Energizer bunny. The Japanese designer, who unveils a new co-branded sportswear line with Adidas tonight, has also joined the advisory board of Japanese fashion chain Muji. Although Yamamoto’s name won’t appear on the label, he will provide creative advice on its clothing, starting with its spring 2003 offering. Launched in 1980 as a purveyor of well-designed basics, Muji today boasts 280 locations in Japan and 22 overseas, including major outlets in Paris and London. Sales last year totaled about $1 billion, about 30 percent of that from clothing. Muji also sells household goods and food.

FAN CLUB: Kylie Minogue, a front-row guest at Chloé on Sunday morning, has given in to her literary urges. She said her first book comes out in November. “Basically, it’s a trumped-up fanzine,” she smiled. “It’s not a biography, but it’s full of anecdotes and stories.”

Minogue just wrapped her concert tour and spent 10 days in the Australian outback. “It was just what I needed,” she said. “You don’t see a soul.”

HERE’S LOOKING AT YOU: Mounir Moufarrige, chief executive of upstart France Luxury Group, is still in a shopping mood. He took time out Sunday from preparations for Tuesday’s Jacques Fath and Wednesday’s Scherrer shows to take in Givenchy. “I think Givenchy’s an interesting brand,” he offered. Besides Fath and Scherrer, Moufarrige’s stable also includes Emmanuelle Khanh and the shoe firm Harel.

SPECIAL K: Philippe Starck introduced his latest design at the Jean Paul Gaultier show Saturday: His five-week-old daughter named K. While Starck held the baby aloft for the TV crews, his wife Nori disclosed that she’s planning to launch a maternity line next year labeled Nori S. “It’s hard to find sexy, feminine maternity wear,” she said. As for her daughter’s unusual name, Stark offered: “It’s my favorite letter of the alphabet.” Then it was time for the show — and K’s feeding, in the glare of the runway lights.

RED ALERT: It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Diane Von Furstenberg and her crew last week off the coast of Italy. Von Furstenberg, Christian Louboutin, Anne McNally, Ahn Duong and others — in Italy for Francesco Clemente’s opening in Naples on Saturday — were about 30 minutes offshore when a fire broke out in the engine room of the Mikado, Barry Diller’s yacht. There was enough time to grab jewels, and joke about which magazine to grab, before the rescue boats arrived to take the fashionistas to shore. No one was hurt, but the boat will be out of service for three weeks.

MONSTERS’ BALL: We need a little Thanksgiving right this very minute. Or at least Marc Jacobs thinks so. After Jacobs enlisted artist Takashi Murakami to have his monstrously sweet way with the Louis Vuitton logo for spring’s new handbags, the designer decided to go one step further. Murakami recently did an installation of giant balloons at New York’s Grand Central Terminal, which gave Jacobs the idea to commission 13 balloons depicting Murakami’s whimisical monsters — including his new Vuitton characters — to decorate the plaza of Serre du Parc Andre Citroen, where Jacobs will present his collection for the house today. The gigantic helium honeys were made in an airplane hangar, and unless grounded by high winds, will greet guests as they arrive for the show. “It’ll be just like Macy’s,” Jacobs said, even though he has made no provisions for a visit from Santa.

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