BALMAIN CONFIRMS MERCIER: Laurent Mercier has been named by Balmain to design its women’s ready-to-wear collection, starting with the fall 2002 season. This confirms a report in these columns Nov. 9. Mercier first showed his signature collection on the runway in Paris in October. He has won the French-government-sponsored ANDAM grant and prizes from LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent haute couture.

FLYING HIGH: Tommy Hilfiger and photographer Anne Menke have teamed up to publish “Our New York,” a limited edition book featuring 100 of Menke’s photographs of the American flag taken after Sept. 11, including a homemade flag on Greenwich Street bearing children’s handprints as its Stars and Stripes, and the flag displayed on a worker’s hard hat at Ground Zero. Proceeds from the sale of the book, which retails for $20, will go to the Twin Towers Fund. The book is available through Ticketmaster (1-866-549-FLAG) or online via the Web site, beginning Thursday, and in select Tommy Hilfiger stores, starting next Monday.

ZINN MOORE TO L&T: Lord & Taylor on Monday named Barbara Zinn Moore as senior vice president and general merchandise manager of cosmetics and fragrances. She was senior vice president and gmm of cosmetics at Duty Free Shops for the past two and a half years and before that, held the same post at Macy’s East. She will be a member of the senior management committee at L&T.

DIOR SETS MEN’S SHOP: Dior Homme said Monday that it has signed a lease to open a flagship Paris boutique at 25 Rue Royale in late spring. This confirms a report in WWD Nov. 21. The store, on the same block as Gucci, Chanel and Cerruti, will occupy a 5,000-square-foot space previously held by Beauty By, fashion and beauty store that was recently shuttered. It will showcase the minimalist designs of Hedi Slimane. A Dior Homme location on Via Montenapoleone in Milan will bow first, probably in mid-January. The house has also indicated it hopes to open a New York location next year, with Tokyo and London following in 2003.

DOT-COM LAYOFFS TAKE A DIVE: Continuing a downdraft that began this summer, Internet jobs lost in November fell by 40 percent to 2,901, compared with 4,840 jobs lost in October, and they plummeted 67 percent below the 9,000 or so Internet jobs cut in November 2000. The figures, reported Friday by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, showed e-tailers slashed 100 jobs in November, or 3.4 percent of the ‘Net positions lost.

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