PILGRIMS’ PROGRESS: Fashion’s faithful were forced to take planes, trains and automobiles — in exactly that order — before arriving in snowbound Milan last night. On Wednesday morning, a Delta flight full of fashionistas circled Milan’s Malpensa airport for an hour in the midst of a snowstorm before heading north to Zurich. After watching “Charlie’s Angels” as they sat on the runway, the crowd, including Kate Betts, Grace Coddington, Tonne Goodman, Hal Rubenstein and Janet Brown, de-planed for an Italy-bound train. Many would slog through the snow in Prada sandals and high heels, only to sit through a four-hour train ride. Those traveling on Alitalia-Continental, including Linda Wells, Ingrid Sischy, Sandra Brandt and Angela Mariani, were rerouted to Rome, where they also boarded a train for Milan. Their reward was in the kingdom of Versace, where Donatella delayed her 7:00 pm show for over an hour until everyone arrived.
ROYAL WARRIORS: Their business may have gone bust, but that didn’t stop Princess Stephanie of Monaco from giving a boost to her former partner, Claudio Buziol, owner of the Replay and E-Play labels. The princess, who a few years ago had formed a partnership to launch a series of Replay Cafes with Buziol, sat in the front row at E-Play’s show on Tuesday. And while she was the picture of elegance in a gray herringbone suit, her bodyguards certainly weren’t. Clearly taking a cue from E-Play’s urban warrior collection — which featured combat gear and warpaint — they formed a phalanx around the princess before and after the show, shoving onlookers out of her way. One bodyguard even punched a photographer. But Stephanie said she liked all the chaos: “I find the circus atmosphere fascinating.”
MAKES SCENTS: Rivals Gucci Group and LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton appear to be fighting over yet another brand: Acqua di Parma. As reported earlier this week, Gucci is negotiating to buy the unisex fragrance business that’s partly owned by Diego Della Valle. Industry sources now say that LVMH is interested, too, and that principals of that firm were recently spotted in Acqua di Parma’s Milan showroom. Sources say that, while Della Valle and Domenico De Sole may be good friends, business is business and Della Valle will obviously favor the highest bidder. Spokesmen for Gucci, LVMH and Acqua di Parma could not be reached for comment.
BUSH’S ITALIAN DEBUT: Lauren Bush has beat her uncle to Italy, making her runway debut here on Wednesday for the Rome-based designer Gai Mattiolo. Bush, who was accompanied by her mother, Sharon, was exclusive to Mattiolo this season, but her bookers at Elite said she’d return in the fall: “We had a lot of requests for her, but we couldn’t fulfill them. But she’ll be back.” Mattiolo said he contacted Bush after seeing her in such magazines as W and Vogue, and added, “I liked her freshness and youth — she’s a 16-year-old who still looks like a teenager.” Mattiolo said Bush even learned a little Italian during her quick trip, tossing off a “grazie” to him after the show.