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FASHION SCOOPS

LUXURY JUMBLE: Maybe it’s the dismal climate for luxury goods, or maybe it just hurts to say goodbye, but for some reason, the discount sale to mark the end of the Asprey & Garrard brand is stretching into its third month. Items still on offer at the sale that kicked off in January at London’s New Bond Street store include such must-haves as an alligator pet carrier complete with cashmere blanket and silver bowl for about $6,000, those silver and gold computer mouses — the ones all the British magazines were raving about a few years ago — for about $260, and small silver stud earrings for about $30. For those looking to add a little oomph to their home or office, there are also champagne flutes, a set of six chairs with embroidered cushions and a silver-and-wood lectern. At the end of the month, Asprey & Garrard will become two separate brands and the New Bond Street store will close. Asprey will be housed in a temporary location in that store, while Garrard will move into its new digs on Albemarle Street in September.

CASH COW — NOT: Yes, that’s a wallet on the sidewalk, but it’s not filled with hundred-dollar bills. Instead, it’s packed with coupons. Kenneth Cole will drop 1,000 vinyl wallets around New York City sidewalks today filled with discounts and gift coupons to shop the Reaction Kenneth Cole store. But alert: Pedestrians who find the wallets — marked “Today’s Your Lucky Day @ Reaction Kenneth Cole” — can redeem the coupons today only from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Reaction store on East 57th Street. An onsite bonus: free fashion tips from a Lucky Magazine editor. There’s also a chance to win a $500 shopping spree at the store.

POLO OR BUST: One person closely watching Art Cooper’s incredibly shrinking waistline is Tom Florio, the former publisher of GQ who is now publisher of Vogue. Both were dining Wednesday at the Four Seasons, although at different tables.
Florio described a deal he struck with Cooper in January after viewing the blockbuster Ralph Lauren men’s wear show in Milan. Florio promised Cooper that if he lost 50 pounds, he would buy him a Purple Label suit. It looks like Florio may soon have to make good on his promise. Cooper said he’s shed 30 pounds so far and is still dieting.
Also lunching at the Four Seasons on Wednesday were Anna Wintour and Mort Zuckerman; Marvin Traub and Paul Charron; Richard Beckman and Jack Wiswall, and Linda Wachner with an unidentified gentleman.
Asked how she’s doing, Wachner, who’s still searching for her next gig, replied in typical fashion: “I’m doing great.”

YVAN BETTER: Having had his fill of designing for other houses, Yvan Mispelaere now plans to strike out on his own. Mispelaere, who recently left Louis Feraud, told WWD he plans to launch a signature collection, possibly readying some deluxe designs in time for the July couture or, at the latest, the October ready-to-wear shows. “I prefer to take control of my own destiny,” he said. Mispelaere, who worked at Valentino and Prada before joining Feraud two years ago, said he’s in talks with potential partners to fund his new venture but declined to name them. As reported, Feraud, now a partnership between Escada AG and the Dutch group Secon, is evaluating the future of its couture business and plans to name a new designer this month.

KNOTT SHOP: Belgian designer Jean Paul Knott hit the jackpot. He won an unusual prize from the Mode a Bruxelles fashion organization: the chance to operate his own temporary 600-square-foot boutique in one of Brussels’ best shopping areas. “After four seasons, to have a shop, even for four months, is incredible,” he said. But Knott, who worked at Krizia and Yves Saint Laurent, is keeping it a family affair. He asked several artist and photographer friends to help fill the store, and his sister is managing the place.

HOTEL DUDS: Say au revoir to those dreary brown and beige uniforms and bon jour to a little more fashion whimsy. Jean Charles de Castelbajac, the French designer who famously outfitted Pope John Paul II for the church’s youth days in 1997, on Wednesday unveiled new gray pinstriped uniforms and white and red printed blouses that he designed for the Sofitel hotel chain. They will clothe staff in all of Sofitel’s 150 units around the world. “My collections have always played with uniforms,” said de Castelbajac. “Why shouldn’t real uniforms be beautiful?” The designer’s contract with Sofitel runs 10 years.

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