By George: The audience at the Versus show on Sunday night didn’t do the wave, but, with their riotous response to the arrival of George Clooney, you could have sworn it was a soccer match. They stood. They cheered. But the salt-and-pepper-haired film hunk was all modesty. “I think they saw some girls behind me; that’s why they were clapping,” he said with that winning big-screen grin. Clooney had flown in to Milan for the show from Barcelona, where he’s location scouting for “Oceans Eleven,” a film that will also star Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and Matt Damon. “Donatella [Versace] has asked me to come to her shows for years, and I finally decided to go to one,” he said. Meanwhile, Bruce Willis, Courtney Love and Christina Ricci are expected at Friday’s Versace presentation.
No Moss Grows: You just can’t keep the girl off the runway. Although she’s threatening to retire, Kate Moss is slated to do her stuff exclusively for Gucci today and Yves Saint Laurent next week in Paris. But that doesn’t mean that she only walks for Tom Ford. Last week in London, she appeared in Alexander McQueen and Luella Bartley’s shows. And there are certainly no exclusives on her friendship — Moss turned up in Narciso Rodriguez’s front row on Monday. Some even suspected that the show was being held for her. She swept in 45 minutes late, sat down next to Kate Betts, and the presentation began moments later.
Popping the Question: After spending much of the year in courtship, John Bartlett is zeroing in on a marriage. The designer was in Milan Monday and met with Renzo Rosso, owner of Diesel and Staff International. Sources here say that Rosso is interested in buying Bartlett’s company. A spokeswoman for Diesel would only confirm that the two had a “friendly meeting,” while the designer declined to comment. Bartlett had spent much of this year in discussions with New York-based Pegasus Group, but talks ended in July. If he signs with Diesel, it will be his second Italian deal. Earlier this year he parted ways with the Genny Group, which produced his signature collections and the Byblos collection he designed.
Bye-Bye Berardi: Gisele Bundchen, who was booked for Antonio Berardi’s 9 p.m. show on Monday night, said arrivederci at the last minute. The word backstage was that Bundchen canceled in order to hang out with Leonardo DiCaprio, who took a break from filming “Gangs of New York” in Rome to visit her in Milan. No word on whether DiCaprio would stick around for any shows.
Retail Rundown: Pucci has opened its first Milan boutique on the via Montenapoleone, next door to Louis Vuitton, filling it with the firm’s signature prints in eye-popping colors. The space, which features curvy walls and soft lighting, showcases ready-to-wear, accessories and swimwear. “It was fundamental for us to open in Milan, which is such an important fashion center,” said Laudomia Pucci, image director of the company her father Emilio founded in 1948. The store also houses a VIP area upstairs, a library and an archive dedicated to the company’s history. Pucci was purchased by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton in April, and since then the two companies have begun to revamp the brand. More Pucci stores will open in December in Palm Beach and St. Moritz.
BCBG has also launched its first Milan store, a two-story open space that houses both the BCBG Max Azria line and a downstairs restaurant. The shop has a spare, minimal feeling with white walls, honey-colored floors and glass shelves. The company already has six stores in Paris, and 150 units in the U.S. and Asia. The restaurant, Max Cafe, is open seven days a week — a rarity in Milan — and offers a fusion of European and Asian fare.