THE SANDER SAGA: It’s percolating again — the talk that Jil Sander and Patrizio Bertelli are negotiating mutual forgiveness, and more importantly, Sander’s return to the company she founded three decades ago that now wallows in misery du mode. That impending return has become the rumor that just won’t die, fueled by reports of off-again on-again negotiations and the hard-core fact that artistically at least, the Jil Sander house is a mess. In an interview last month, Miuccia Prada maintained that the Sander line is making money, but acknowledged that “people hate the idea that she’s not there.” Prada also left the door wide open for a Sander return. “We will see,” Prada said. “It’s not something that you solve in one day or two.” Now, it seems, the talks are back on, looking good, and the saga continues…

MADRE MIA: J.Lo has yet another project cooking — literally. The enterprising diva will open her first restaurant, the family-owned De Madre — not to be confused with Le Madri in Manhattan — with a grand fiesta on Friday in historic Pasadena, Calif. Serving family-style Cuban and Puerto Rican cuisine and featuring an interior designed by Shabby Chic creator Rachel Ashwell, the eatery will probably draw curious foodies more eager to catch a glimpse of its owner than the empanadas.

BRANAGH’S RAMBLINGS: Kenneth Branagh will soon be traveling from the icy climes of Antarctica to the heat of the Australian outback. He appears tonight as Sir Ernest Shackleton in the two-part series “Shackleton” on the A&E network. The series, produced by the U.K.’s Channel 4, traces Shackleton’s ill-fated attempt to cross Antarctica in 1914. In late June, he’ll be starring in “Rabbit-Proof Fence,” a film based on a true story about three aboriginal girls who journey across the Australian outback in the early 1930s. The film, directed by Phillip Noyce, will be distributed in the U.S. by Miramax.

SAVE IT: Tara Reid, star of “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder,” which is in theaters now, is featured on the cover of CosmoGirl magazine’s May issue. On the cover, Reid is sporting a white Candie’s tank top with the message, “Be Sexy. It doesn’t mean you have to have sex.” CosmoGirl chose the top for Reid to help raise awareness about preventing teen pregnancy. The shirt will be available at Gadzooks and Candie’s company-owned stores with all proceeds going to the Candie’s Foundation for teen pregnancy awareness. The shirts retail between $19 and $23. The issue of CosmoGirl lands on newsstands Tuesday.

DARYL’S VOYAGE: Thanks to Henri Bendel, Daryl Kerrigan is about to do a little volunteer work — in the south of France. She will be sizing up aspiring designers along with the rest of the judging panel at Hyeres, the annual competition in the French town of the same name.
Bendel’s, one of the event’s retail sponsors, submitted Kerrigan’s name, said Ed Burstell, vice president and general manager. Burstell has a seat on the Hyeres board, which also includes Karl Lagerfeld and Sarah of Colette in Paris.
For four days at the end of this month, they’ll critique the work of 10 finalists culled from a field of 150, meet with them individually and stage a fashion show. The winner takes home some real estate at Bendel’s.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Burstell said. “It’s probably the only [competition] left that doesn’t have a hand in big business.”

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