CHIC CUISINE: First the diet, then the cookbook and now a new line of frozen foods from Le Diet King Karl Lagerfeld. In response to growing demand from fashion editors and clients, Lagerfeld will launch his own line of dietary and lo-cal foods this fall, under the catchy brand Karl’s Kuisine. The TV dinners, breads, sauces and desserts will be carried worldwide by the French hypermarket chain Carrefour, and Lagerfeld is launching an Internet site as well. The ever-thin designer plans a global tour to launch the foods, with in-store appearances.

BIGGER IS EVER BETTER: Prada just keeps opening those mega-stores. Following on from its Rem Koolhaus-designed SoHo extravaganza, the Italian firm has just signed the lease on the Flamingo on Sunset Strip in Las Vegas. The company plans to open a 65,000-square-foot Prada store as well as its first Prada hotel and casino and the very first Prada restaurant. The Koolhaus-designed theme will be Oceans Away, given Prada chief executive Patrizio Bertelli’s love of sailing, and daily yacht races will be held in the lagoon in front. “And since I can’t win the America’s Cup, I have decided to launch my own: the Vegas Cup,” Bertelli said via satellite phone from his yacht.

VALENTINO THE VALET: Valentino isn’t wasting any time waiting to find out what his new owner, Marzotto, plans to do with his contract, which expires in 2003. The Italian designer already is securing his financial future with plans to open a bed-and-breakfast at his palazzo outside Milan. He’ll only take six guests each night, and his personal chef will provide all meals. For an extra fee, Valentino will take guests out on his yacht to fish in the Mediterranean. Meanwhile, his partner, Giancarlo Giammetti, is launching his own accessories line, called G-G, and already has linked up with several Italian manufacturers.

HORYN’S THE ONE: The Council of Fashion Designers of America has decided to extend its nominating process to the Eugenia Sheppard Award this year, and the nominees include Bonnie Fuller, Kate Betts, Brandusa Niro and Mandi Norwood. One nominee, Grace Coddington, was dropped after vigorous objections from Glenda Bailey of Harper’s Bazaar. “She’s no Stephen Gan,” Bailey told the CFDA. But WWD has learned the winner will be Cathy Horyn of the New York Times. Reached by phone Friday, Horyn said peevishly, “Fashion is so over. But, hey, an award’s an award.”

SAFE MODELS: On Friday, Michelle DeSwarte, the model known for her triple-stumble on the Gucci runway, filed suit against Tom Ford, the label’s creative director, and Gucci Group in Amsterdam for injuries she incurred while on the job. Last seen in her hometown London, DeSwarte, in a stiff white neck brace, was petitioning the fashion crowd at Momo in support of her new coalition: People for the Ethical Treatment of Models. “My neck is killing me,” she said. “At first, the shock of it all disguised my symptoms. But now it’s just ow-ow-ow.”
In a further twist, WWD has learned that DeSwarte has a secret fan — none other than Pierre Berge, who has hired a string of high-powered French lawyers to help the model win her suit. “I’m interested only in justice,” Berge told WWD.

TIT FOR TAT: The war of words continues between LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton chairman Bernard Arnault and Gucci Group’s chief executive Domenico De Sole. Arnault dismissed the Gucci boss as a mere employee of the firm, and at a recent charity event, De Sole fired back. “I am rubber,” he said, simply. “Arnault is glue.”
But Arnault appears to be taking a more spiritual path. He recently was spotted at the Shamaputara resort in the Himalayas with Donna Karan. The two, clad only in saffron robes, were taking yoga lessons.

CARTER’S HONOR: Oscar-winner Brian Grazer is mounting a campaign among members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to award a “special achievement” Oscar to Vanity Fair chief Graydon Carter. Word has it that Grazer is emphasizing Carter’s “unflagging support for movies and the magical people who make them.” Carter is said to be already at work on a “film montage documentary” of his youth and career, featuring commentary from Barry Diller, Fran Lebowitz, Liz Smith and “Pearl Harbor” star Kate Beckinsale. It could shape up as a highly selective history, however. One former colleague at the defunct Spy magazine told WWD: “Graydon has filmed everybody in the world for his big tribute, except for the people who made his career at Spy. I think we’re being edited out of his life. We’re hurting.” Grazer still faces something of an uphill climb with certain members of the Academy, however, as Miramax heavyweights are resisting. Contacted last week, Harvey Weinstein told WWD: “Look, I know Tina Brown. Tina Brown’s a friend of mine. He’s no Tina Brown. And for that matter, he’s no Swifty.” For his part, Grazer declined to comment on his Carter plan, other than to say: “I think the guy’s got a beautiful mind and he’s really helped Hollywood out.”

CHELSEA’S NEW ROLE: Donatella Versace has scored another major fashion coup. According to sources, the designer has signed Chelsea Clinton and boyfriend, Ian Klause, to appear in her steamy fall campaign. The couple will reenact their famous front-row liplock for lensman Steven Meisel next week.

NEW BRITNEY: Pepsi-Cola has teamed up with Britney Spears to launch a new fragrance, which is sure to mine the riches of the cash-laden adolescent market that has captivated the fantasies of magazine publishers for the last decade.
The new scent, called “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” will bow Sept. 1 in the fine fragrance departments of 35,000 Wal-Mart, Target and Waldbaum’s stores. While plans are still incomplete, sources say that Spears is keen on making her first public appearance to promote the scent at the Waldbaum’s Shopping Plaza on Amboy Road on Staten Island. The pop princess, who recently broke up with ‘NSync star Justin Timberlake, is rumored to be romantically linked with Waldbaum’s assistant night manager, Opie Boombotz.

SIMON’S WAY: Rosie O’Donnell isn’t the only one switching lanes these days. Simon Doonan, creative director of Barneys New York and New York Observer columnist, was spotted canoodling with Pamela Anderson following his movie debut at the Oscars last week. “I may work for a pink newspaper,” Doonan snapped, “but that doesn’t mean I don’t like a little booty. Besides, whenever the world goes one way, I go the other.”

Happy April Fool’s Day from WWD

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