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GIVENCHY GROUPIES: Ricardo Tischi of Givenchy is becoming quite a designer’s designer. Both Yohji Yamamoto and Alessandra Facchinetti showed up to watch Tischi’s couture show on Tuesday. “He really respects the clothes,” said Yamamoto.

Facchinetti said she plans to attend Valentino’s swan song today. “I hope I don’t cry,” she said.

This story first appeared in the January 23, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

TOMB RAIDERS: A decor worthy of a “Harry Potter” film — including old tomes, skulls, stuffed owls and hunks of mineral — awaited guests at Louis Vuitton’s bash Monday night for a new fine jewelry collection by Pharrell Williams and Camille Miceli. Holding court at a private mansion on Avenue Foch, Williams welcomed the likes of Sofia Coppola, Natalia Vodianova, Audrey Marnay and Dita Von Teese. Coppola confirmed she’ll soon be back in action, currently working on a script. Elsewhere, French thespians Joanna Preiss, Elodie Bouchez and Romain Duris huddled on an old-fashioned couch discussing their precious heirlooms.

“It’s from the Twenties and belonged to the grandmother of my best friend,” said Preiss of a gold chain bracelet. The actress-cum-model said she’d just shot the American Retro campaign with Terry Richardson.

Freckle-faced Marnay, who stars in Cédric Klapisch’s new film, “Paris,” said she is also keeping a foot in modeling, having just shot a campaign for the French jewelry brand Fred, in which she stars with rising French indie actor Melvil Poupaud.

NIC AT NIGHT: Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquière is to receive an award of merit from the French government. On Tuesday, he will be decorated as a Chevalier of Arts and Letters by luxury titan François Pinault, owner of Balenciaga parent PPR, in a ceremony at Balenciaga headquarters in Paris. House regulars such as Charlotte Gainsbourg and Isabelle Huppert are expected to attend a casual gathering, along with all Balenciaga employees, to share in the recognition.

HEATH LEDGER REMEMBERED: Heath Ledger’s death Tuesday afternoon stunned Hollywood, but it also rattled the New York nightlife and fashion communities of which Ledger slowly had been becoming a part. In September, the actor was one of the most visible — if not one of the biggest — celebrities making the rounds during fashion week. He wound up at Another Magazine’s bash at the Bowery Hotel alongside Chloë Sevigny and Helena Christensen. The following night, he drew stares dressed in a grungy T-shirt and sandwiched between Vincent Gallo and rocker Michael Stipe in the front row of Marc Jacobs’ show. Twenty-four hours later, Ledger ditched his grubby downtown look and arrived at Calvin Klein’s after party at the Gramercy Park Hotel in a natty suit. “I haven’t gotten this dressed up since the Oscars,” said the reticent actor, who showed up at the intimate dinner with Christensen.

Upon hearing the news Tuesday, Bungalow 8 owner Amy Sacco told WWD, “I am devastated. He was a sweet, smart and talented young man and had many friends. My heart goes out to his family.”

Christensen said, “I am just beyond sad at this point, and shocked….I was on my way over to pay him a visit when I found out. I had just left him a message and heard his voice on the machine….He was such a special and genuine person, so extraordinarily talented because he was so raw and honest with his feelings. He was so full of life, so electric….This is immensely sad.”

THAT SEVENTIES SHOW: Hilary Swank may be a high flyer in Hollywood, but the actress has yet to earn her wings. “I don’t know how to fly, but I hope to learn very shortly,” said a sinewy Swank, who was taking time out from filming “Amelia Earhart” to attend Giorgio Armani’s Privé couture show Monday night. “But I can skydive,” she said.

Ellen Pompeo of “Grey’s Anatomy” was feeling more grounded, to say the least. “I’m a well-paid slave, tied down to ABC,” said Pompeo, who plans to tone down her self-described “daredevil” image, due to the writers’ strike, on the red carpet at the Screen Actors Guild awards on Sunday. The actress, who spent Tuesday going for fittings in Paris, said the current climate calls for “less bling.” Her rebellious streak may yet win through, though. “Watch me show up in McQueen — with a headdress,” she deadpanned.

Sophia Loren said she was working on her musical debut, themed around Federico Fellini. “I’m a professional, and all professionals can sing,” she explained.

Attending her first couture show, fast-rising British actress Rebecca Hall said she just wrapped up Woody Allen’s “Vicki Cristina Barcelona,” opposite Scarlett Johansson, and Ron Howard’s “Frost/Nixon.” “That’s good for fashion,” she said of the latter film. “It’s set in the Seventies and so I got to wear a lot of Halston replicas. I loved it.”

Carla Bruni — the model-turned-singer and potential new first lady of France — has been a no-show at the couture shows this week in a nation obsessed with her every move. And, while Europe awaits word if and when she and President Nicolas Sarkozy will wed, gifts are already arriving for the new couple at the Elysée Palace. According to a Paris source, these include one from Bruni’s fashion friend Karl Lagerfeld. Knowing jogging is a favorite activity of the pair, the designer recently dispatched his and hers iPods loaded with the latest music from DJ Michel Gaubert, the source said.

WOOED BY FASHION: Among the new faces in couture’s front row this season is Jennifer Woo, president of Hong Kong-based fashion retailer Lane Crawford, who just might join the ranks of high-fashion clients soon. “Maybe. Let’s see,” she demurred. Woo and Lane Crawford’s fashion director, Sarah Rutson, are also here to take in the trends at couture. “It’s the essence, the top, the pinnacle of fashion, and we need to make sure that’s kept alive,” said Woo, whose adventures at the couture also are being documented for a feature in Vogue.

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