WHAT A SPORT: Beyoncé Knowles brought a gust of stardom to a so-far parched celebrity landscape at the Milan shows when she breezed into the Emporio Armani show on Wednesday afternoon. Her mother (and potential partner in fashion design), Tina, came along. Dressed in a sparkling athletic tank and pants, Beyoncé was welcomed with cheers. “Mr. Armani invited me, so I couldn’t not come,” she said after the show, which she described as “young and fresh.” But her stay in Milan was brief. After the show, she boarded a flight back to Paris, where she’s filming commercials for Pepsi and L’Oréal Paris.



ON THE SIDELINES: Bloomingdale’s Kal Ruttenstein, who, as reported, is nursing a stomach ulcer, isn’t the only American retailer missing from the front rows in Milan this week. Julie Gilhart, vice president and fashion director at Barneys New York, is laid up with an infected foot and couldn’t travel to Europe. Jacqui Lividini, senior vice president of fashion merchandising at Saks Fifth Avenue, has also been absent. “She’s fine,” Christina Johnson, president and chief executive of Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises, said at the Prada show Wednesday night. “But she’s homeless.” Johnson explained that Lividini just sold residences in New York and Connecticut and had to vacate quickly. Reached later, Lividini had a theory: “Mercury is in retrograde and is targeting all the fashion directors. Tell Joan to be careful.” (Technically, Mercury spun out of retrograde on Sept. 28, so there’s no need to worry.)



THE TOM AND DOM SHOW: Tonight’s Gucci show should kick Milan fashion week into high gear, given the front-row intrigue. And we’re not talking celebrities. With Tom Ford’s and Domenico De Sole’s contracts up for renewal next spring, and rumors swirling about the progress of the negotiations, all eyes will be on how De Sole interacts with officials from Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, the majority owner of Gucci Group. It was unclear at press time Wednesday if François Pinault could attend, but his son, François-Henri Pinault, the new chairman of Artemis, is expected. A spokeswoman for PPR said Serge Weinberg, chief executive of PPR, could not attend, but gave no reason.

CAUTIOUS CLAIRE: Claire Kent, the unflinching Morgan Stanley analyst who is the target of a $115 million bias and conflict of interest suit lodged by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, was in fine form Wednesday. Hosting a press conference on the luxury sector with Italian journalists, she didn’t sugarcoat her assessment of Italian makers. She said Gucci and Tod’s are losing market share in leather goods to the French, British and American brands such as Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Coach. She contended that the latter labels have done a better job of coming up with innovative must-have products. Kent declined all comment on the LVMH case — and seems to be avoiding the spotlight whenever possible. Not only did she rebuff a request for a television interview with CNBC’s Italian affiliate, she said a heavy workload will force her to skip the runway shows, as well.



JEWEL FUEL: Look who’s a ringbearer: Renzo Rosso. The Diesel chief this week launches his denim brand’s first jewelry collection to coincide with Friday’s party to inaugurate Diesel’s new Milan flagship. The 50-piece collection features silver, leather and horn accents and semiprecious stones like red onyx and tigereye, as well as high tech touches such as electric and computer cables. The baubles, produced in partnership with Italian firms Pianegonda and Zancan, hit Diesel stores in the U.S., Europe and Japan from the end of October. Also hot on the jewelry trail, Bottega Veneta is rolling out a mini collection of bangles, rings and other pieces in materials like stone, silver, leather and Macassar wood. Chains tend toward the chunky, and patterns often feature a woven motif, complementing the brand’s signature bags.



CHANGING CERRUTI: What’s up at Cerruti 1881? On Wednesday, designer David Cardona unveiled his first collection for the label owned by financially troubled group Fin.part. Fashion editors were eager to see what Cardona has done for the label but evidently Ubaldo Livolsi, Fin.part’s new chairman, was not. He was nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, the future of the brand is still murky. Livolsi said this week he wants an industrial partner to relaunch the brand, but he would also be open to a sale if an offer came around. “Half the world is for sale and half is for the buying,” said a visibly distracted Gianluigi Facchini, the now-deposed Fin.part chairman and current co-ceo of the group. He declined to discuss any other business matters on the show’s sidelines. “I prefer not to speak of these things and instead talk about the show.”

POACHING PINTO: Andrea Pinto is working with yet another Italian fashion lady — and it’s not stepmom Mariuccia Mandelli. Following his unexpected split with Krizia’s founder in April after only eight months as general manager there, he was asked by Laura Biagiotti to advise her on future strategies to to expand her business. This is a second coming at Biagiotti: Pinto worked with the designer’s late husband, Gianni Cigna, back in 1989. During his career in fashion, Pinto also worked at Mila Schön and Nina Ricci.

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