FASHION SCOOPS

FULL GALLOP: Richard Buckley, editor in chief of Vogue Hommes International, is back in the saddle, so to speak, after a dramatic horseback riding accident in L.A. that put him out of commission for 10 days. Buckley and his partner, Gucci Group creative director Tom Ford, began taking riding lessons recently at the L.A. Equestrian Center. During Buckley’s sixth lesson on March 29, he took his feet out of the stirrups and clamped his legs around the horse, which must have reminded the beast of its racing days. It went into a gallop and the instructor’s screaming was to no avail. “The horse probably thought she was a fan in the grandstand,” Buckley said. Thrown off when the horse rounded a corner, Buckley was rushed to L.A. County Hospital for a catscan. “They had to wheel me out,” he said. Luckily, nothing was broken, although he was sore and bruised and one leg is badly damaged. Even Thursday, though back at the office, he was still walking with a limp. Will he get back on a horse anytime soon? “If I can ever get my legs apart,” he said.

SULTANA SPLITS: Two years after joining Hugo Boss USA to head up its Boss Hugo Boss women’s division, Salvina Sultana has resigned her position as senior vice president. Sultana helped introduce the brand in the U.S. at retail last spring. She had previously served as president and chief executive officer of Mondi of America before that company wound down its operations in 1999. Sultana could not be reached on Thursday, but a spokeswoman for Hugo Boss said a replacement for her duties has not yet been determined.

J. LO’S FAMILY AFFAIR: Married life has put J. Lo in a family way. She’s not ready to procreate just yet, but her latest production, Madre’s, her Cuban-Puerto Rican restaurant, which opens in Los Angeles tomorrow, was a labor of love. Lopez said she decided to open it to give something back to her family. “You know when you go back home and how your mother’s house feels?” says Lopez. “That was the feeling I got with this restaurant, so I named it Madre’s.” The Bronx-born diva, who grew up eating Spanish and Latin food, said the menu includes her favorite dishes: Pavo Madre’s, roasted turkey simmered in tomato sauce and spices, and Chuletas de Cerdo Ajillo, marinated pork chops garnished with onions sauteed in olive oil, lemon and garlic. Lopez said she logs time in her own kitchen on special occasions: “For instance, on Easter morning there were six of us in the kitchen!”
For the decor, she recruited Shabby Chic creator Rachel Ashwell to transform the adobe style building, which originally had a dark, gentlemen’s club atmosphere, into a light-filled bar, dining room and private room. “I’ve been to every flea market known to man,” said Ashwell, who filled the place with etched mirrors, antique lace fans, dark wood chairs with linen cushions, 19th-century colored glass chandeliers and scads of roses. “I was going for a cross between old-style Havana, grandmother’s house and home. I found there were many parallels between shabby chic and that crumbled elegance, and the colors and patinas of Cuba.”

RA-RA KOONS: What do Gucci, Italian porn stars and Bubbles the chimp have in common? Jeff Koons, who is set to become part of the French establishment on Monday when he is decorated as a chevalier of the Legion of Honor in Paris. The honor will be given in the presence of French titan Francois Pinault, an avid collector of Koons’ work. “I am very, very honored,” said Koons, who was notified of the merit by a letter from French president Jacques Chirac. Koons actually began showing his work in France in the Eighties, but burst into fame there two years ago when his monumental floral sculpture, Split Rocker, was unveiled in Avignon. The piece, part dinosaur, party pony, is slated to be a showpiece at Pinault’s forthcoming modern art museum in suburban Paris. “He has a very good eye,” Koons said of the mogul, who controls the retail conglomerate Pinault-Printemps-Redoute and Gucci Group. “The works he shows interest in are some of my favorites as well.” Meanwhile, Koons — once married to La Ciccolina and the sculptor of Michael Jackson and his hairy friend — has invited a glitzy crowd to share in his glory, including Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld and model Stephanie Seymour. What will Koons wear for the big day? “Hugo Boss,” he said. “They’ve been very generous over the years.”

JUMP-START FOR SPEARS JR.: Britney Spears’ younger sister, Jamie Lynn, is catapulting — literally — onto the modeling scene. At a runway presentation of fall fashions from Kids “R” Us, held Thursday at the Puck Building, the 11-year-old made her entrance by doing a series of summersaults the length of the runway. The spitting image of her big sis, the younger Spears — who reportedly is in negotiations to star in a TV series — donned a very Britney look: a cheerleader T-shirt and short plaid skirt. But the perky tween had her own set of cheerleaders on hand front and center: her mother Lynn, and older brother Bryan.

VERSACE MOVE: Consolidation among the luxury set is hitting Versace in London. The Italian fashion house is moving out of its Old Bond Street digs — which opened to much fanfare and with a multi-million price tag in the early Nineties — and moving the signature line and home collection from the store there to its New Bond Street store, which houses the diffusion line, jeans and children’s wear. The New Bond street space spans 18,000 square feet and is being refurbished in time for a June debut. Citing the “strength of the current real estate market,” a Versace spokesman said it was best to “maximize the return on our investment and combine both stores into one location.” London insiders say one of the companies under the Gucci umbrella will be moving into the Old Bond Street space. A Gucci spokesman declined to comment.

SCENE: A veritable Who’s Who of the downtown fashion and publishing scene showed up at Clearview’s Chelsea West’s Cinemas Tuesday night for Paper Magazine and Fine Line Features’ premiere of “Human Nature,” the Michel Gondry-directed flick that stars current Paper cover girl Patricia Arquette, Tim Robbins and Rhys Ifans — a satire that might be described as “Nell” meets “There’s Something About Mary.” Seen among the downtown luminaries: Chloe Sevigny, Paper associate editor Mickey Boardman — in a sparkling, sequined, vintage lime green blouse that would truly have given Andre Leon Talley a run for his money, Patricia Field, Cynthia Rowley, Sofia Coppola (in Marc Jacobs, of course) and Spike Jonze (who co-executive produced the film). But the biggest news of the night came from Sopranos star Drea De Matteo. The actress told WWD that the HBO hit would return — in September.
And speaking of parties, Paul Wilmot hosted a party for Billy Norwich’s new children’s book, “Molly and the Magic Dress,” in the penthouse suite of 60 Thompson, Monday night. Showing up were New York Times Magazine style editor Amy Spindler, Calvin Klein, Carolina Herrera, Diane Von Furstenburg (who bought four copies for her grandchildren), Chip Brown and Kate Betts, and C.Z. Guest. So, did Norwich’s fashion experience shape his latest heroine, Molly, a young girl whose favorite dress takes her to magical places? “When M. Scott Miller, the illustrator first came back with illustrations, Molly had a beehive. ‘No, no’, I said, ‘Not a beehive. Look at Vogue.” Apparently Miller took Norwich to heart. He redid Molly with the cutest little Anna Wintour bob you ever did see.

CHIC QUEEN: Is Buckingham Palace going too far in chasing positive p.r.? The palace – which traditionally refuses to even discuss such mundane items as the royal wardrobe – Tuesday issued a breakdown of what Queen Elizabeth wore to her mother’s funeral. Her outfit included an “elegant” black, front-buttoning tunic in wool crepe over a matching pleated skirt, all by Karl Rehse for Karl Ludvig Couture. Her hat was a black velour cloche-brimmed design with flared crown, black duchesse satin band and spray of rhea and coque feathers by Philip Somerville. What about her handbag, gloves, shoes and underwear?

RAIN CHECK: It was a sunny day in Paris Thursday, but there were a few April showers at Hermes. For a presentation of its fall accessories, the luxury firm rigged up a sprinkler on one of its balconies and had it raining squarely at the head of a mannequin in a trenchcoat and headscarf. It was all to demonstrate its first waterproof silk square that will bow in Hermes boutiques this summer. The quirky product boasts an equally quirky design: it depicts a woman’s hair encircled with a crown of flowers. Customers have two haircolor choices: gold or blue. The scarf retails for about $280, about $80 more than one that’s only good on sunny days.

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