FASHION SCOOPS

PRETTY BOYS: Vive la Fete, the Belgian rock band Karl Lagerfeld hired to perform live at his Chanel show Tuesday, could be poster children for the eyeliner industry. But they had lots of competition: the security guards and ushers at the show who were made up to help reinforce Lagerfeld’s glam nightclub vibe. “This is the first time in my life I’ve worn makeup and it’s coming off as soon as the show is over. I have to go to university!” said one anxious usher. But another was more game. “I asked them to apply a bit more, but they would only do my eyes,” he lamented. Photographer Nan Goldin, drawn to such cross-gender experiments, was milling about before the show and was asked if she shot the long-lashed lads. “I didn’t, but that’s a good idea,” she said, rushing off with her camera.

YOUNG BLOOD: Gucci Group’s young ones are growing up fast. Both Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney are planning to do their first advertising campaigns next season. But no word yet on whether there will be wolves in McQueen’s campaign or pop stars in McCartney’s. Photographers and models will be selected over the next few weeks.

MODEL DROPOUT: Michelle de Swarte, the model who famously — and with good humor — crashed on the Gucci runway in Milan, has been absent from fashion week in Paris. But her name is on many lips. According to sources, Tom Ford requested her for his Yves Saint Laurent show Monday night. But the 21-year-old beauty from Karin Models is keeping a low profile. Reached in her hometown of London on Monday, de Swarte said she had never planned to do Paris shows, but expects to next season. Asked if her runway drop has boosted her notoriety, she offered: “I suppose it has. All things like that are tests of your mental stability. But everyone has been so supportive and so nice. I’ve seized the opportunity to not take fashion too seriously.”

OLIVIER TWIST: Although he didn’t stage a runway show and is said to be seeking new backing, Olivier Theyskens didn’t skip fashion week completely. And possibly not the season either. Discreetly seated in the second row at Chanel on Tuesday, the 25-year-old held out hope that he could still have a collection ready in time for fall delivery. “I’m kind of going with the flow right now,” he said. “I just spent 10 days relaxing in Switzerland. I’m feeling pretty good. And I have a lot of confidence for the future.”

MAGIC CARPET: Have European designers been watching too much MTV in the run-up to the fall shows? You might make the connection, given the number of fur vests and jackets on the runways that sometimes resemble bathmats. What’s the connection, you ask? Well, a funny commercial in heavy rotation on MTV Europe shows a man in his bathroom clipping his toenails and looking down at a bathmat. The next thing you know, he’s using the clippers to fashion the rug into a garment, proudly displaying the results. Ditto for Italian and French designers, although it’s true their versions are far more chic. Bathmat-like garments have been spotted on runways including Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Balenciaga, Comme des Garcons and Chanel.

FREE WILLY: Willy Lima has resigned as director of couture strategy at Christian Dior Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Christian Dior Couture. Lima joined the company two years ago and was responsible for sales development. It could not immediately be learned if a successor will be named. Lima is well known in retail circles, having worked at Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Charivari and briefly at Jeffrey New York. Separately on Monday, Christian Dior SA, parent of Christian Dior Couture and LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, reported a net loss of $84 million, against a profit of $221 million a year ago. Dior blamed the losses on heavy investments in Dior’s store network and production problems in the first half of 2001. Overall results for Christian Dior SA were largely in line with LVMH results reported last week, with operating profits falling 21 percent to $1.36 billion.

GIFT HORSE: For all the bizarre stories out there about Liza Minnelli’s impending nuptials on Saturday, from Michael Jackson’s role as best man and Elizabeth Taylor as matron of honor to rumors that Whitney Houston will perform “Greatest Love of All,” here’s one that’s verifiable, or verifiably bizarre. Heatherette, which showed a silkscreened image of Liza in its fall collection, has been asked to put together a dozen of them for the gift bags for Minnelli’s wedding party.

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