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SUPER CONNECTED: Putting her far-flung fashion, modeling and party contacts to work, Naomi Campbell is about to stride into the world of high-end event planning and consulting. The supermodel is setting up a New York company, called NC Connect Communications, that will provide a range of “networking” services, from planning deluxe vacations to organizing lavish parties, complete with top musical talent — and models galore, of course.

This story first appeared in the August 29, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

MONTANA MOVES: Stephane Parmentier has been named the new women’s ready-to-wear designer at Claude Montana, house president Beatrice Bongibault told WWD on Wednesday. Parmentier’s runway debut is scheduled for Oct. 6 during Paris Fashion Week. Claude Montana himself remains a consultant to the house, while Parmentier, 35, will continue to design his three-season-old signature line, which is carried exclusively in the U.S. by Saks Fifth Avenue. While relatively unknown outside of Paris, Parmentier has more than 17 years of fashion experience, working for such houses as Lanvin, Karl Lagerfeld and Givenchy, and earning a reputation for his constructed, geometric silhouettes. “He has a firm grasp of what Montana should be,” said Bongibault.

VALENTINO’S VENETIAN VOYAGE: After a week of cruising around Croatia on Valentino’s private yacht, Gwyneth Paltrow is expected to slip out of the bikini and into something more glam for the opening ceremonies of the 59th annual Venice Film Festival tonight. The actress, who’s accompanying Valentino to the festivities, will, of course, be dripping in one of his signature gowns. A spokeswoman for Valentino said Paltrow had several looks to choose from, including some of the sexy serpent numbers from Valentino’s latest couture collection. Paltrow is just one of many A-list celebrities expected on the Lido’s red carpet this year. Tom Hanks, on hand to promote his film, “Road to Perdition,” will also climb aboard Valentino’s yacht for a private luncheon the designer is throwing in honor of the Academy Award winner.

ETERNAL YOUTH: Jean Paul Gaultier may have turned 50 recently, but he’s hardly over the hill. Vacationing in Lisbon earlier this month, the French designer partied hard with the locals and tourists. Gaultier was spotted in the streets, bars and restaurants of Barrio Alto, where he began and ended many nights with caipirinha in hand and friends in tow, politely fielding introductions from fans who spotted the blonde “enfant terrible.”

THE FAST AND THE FASHIONABLE: The worlds of Italian fashion and Italian Formula One racing are revving up for a fund-raising evening on Sept. 11 to benefit the National Italian American Foundation and commemorate 9/11. Organized by the Italian Buyers Organization and spearheaded by Kean Etro and Massimo Ferragamo, the benefit will start with some laps around the Milan racetrack as the Italian National Racecar team goes head-to-head with the Italian National Fashion Designers team, and will finish with some laps around the buffet table with a gala dinner at the Four Seasons in Milan. Among the expected participants are Ferrari champ Michael Schumacher, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Francesco Trussardi and Diesel’s Renzo Rosso — although which designers would actually be putting their pedals to the metal was still undecided.

REVVING RYKIEL: London may be the first stop on the international fashion calendar this season, but Sonia Rykiel is getting a jump-start,

kicking off the marathon Sept. 4 in Paris by showcasing her secondary line, Sonia, on the runway at the Institute of the Arab World. Rykiel is putting new oomph behind the four-year-old label. She just opened her first Sonia store in Paris at 61 Rue des Saints-Peres. What’s more, it will be offered to American retailers for the first time, at Rykiel’s New York showroom and at Fashion Coterie. Heavy on knits and sportswear and light in spirit, it’s priced about 30 to 40 percent less than Rykiel’s top line.

ANNE KLEIN’S EUROPEAN TEST: Anne Klein is on double-fashion duty this season. The bridge line will put on a runway collection during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York and then will head over the Atlantic to show for the first time during the Milan collections. A Milan-based representative for Anne Klein said the presentation is an informal step to introducing the brand to the European market. To help move along that introduction, the company has reportedly tapped Parisian-based DJ Dimitri to spin during its Sept. 27 Milan presentation.