DOLCE AND GABBANA UPDATE: There are some who suggest that Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana would be the perfect successors to Hubert de Givenchy when he retires next summer. But they prefer to leave the job to John Galliano, or whomever else Bernard Arnault picks. They have bigger fish to fry. “We want Ivano,” Gabbana said. “Ivano,” of course, is Italian for Yves — as in Saint Laurent. “It would be so great to work there,” said Dolce. “All those great clothes to reinvent.” And Yves wouldn’t even have to retire. “We would love to work together,” Gabbana said. What about Pierre Berge? “We can take care of him,” said Dolce. As for their own business, they’re expanding the existing Via Spiga boutique and looking for space in SoHo for a D&G shop.

LIVIN’ IN A MATERIAL WORLD: Don’t think putting Madonna in your ads means that she will always wear your clothes. At the San Remo music festival, which is big stuff in Europe, Madonna made an appearance wearing a lavender Dolce & Gabbana slipdress, with a feather boa wrapped around her shoulders. Later, at a press conference, she was asked why she wasn’t wearing Versace. “I feel bad for Gianni, but the dress he sent me didn’t fit very well,” she replied.

THE HUMAN TOUCH: Don’t expect Catherine Deneuve to sign up with PETA any time soon. Not only did she fly down from Paris with Karl Lagerfeld to see his Fendi show, but she also gave the whole industry a big — if somewhat garbled — boost. “Being here is proof of my interest,” she said as she sat in the Fendis’ front row. “I’m happy to wear my mink. And I’m not an animal-rights activist, but I do support Amnesty International.”

SINCERELY YOURS: While Naomi, Kate and Amber were hitting the Italian runways, Carla Bruni was in her hometown of Turin to receive a special award from the city. She’s so popular back home that the dozen or so chairs set up in Vittorio Valbrega’s antique shop just couldn’t handle the crowd that turned out for her.
To hear Carla tell it, the award more than made up for skipping the Milan shows. “We top models really don’t have an active part in fashion,” she told reporters. “Without the stylists, photographers and press, we would be unknown. If I have to be sincere, it’s a pretty boring job.” Carla said her future is not on the runway. “I want to use my name and my popularity to do something less superficial.”

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “What do you think real people would make of all these fashion types?” one cantankerous Milan visitor asked another between shows this week. The cruel response: “A bunch of ugly women, badly dressed.”