PRETTY PENNY: Lindsay Owen-Jones not only runs France’s biggest beauty group, L’Oreal, he also commands the highest salary among the country’s company directors. According to new figures, Owen-Jones earned $4.3 million in 2000. Vivendi’s Jean-Marie Messier, who pulled in $3.7 million, came in second.

OUT OF SYNC: Cher took to the stage at the Roxy, New York’s reigning gay pleasure dome, on Saturday night. The newly blonde diva was there to promote her single, “Song for the Lonely,” but it seemed she couldn’t even get a working microphone. After 10 minutes of back and forth with the guys at the sound board, she finally got a mic that appeared to be functioning. The hold up was totally unnecessary though. She decided to lip sync.

N.Y. STATE OF MIND: The fashion pack may have moved on, but New York is reintroducing its most original fashion icon, Lady Liberty. Monday night, the recently opened Ritz-Carlton New York in Battery Park hosted a black-tie fund-raiser to mark the statue’s reopening. It had been closed since Sept. 11.

New York Governor George Pataki, Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton, French Ambassador Francois Bujon de l’Estang and NYSE Chairman Richard Grasso were among those expected to attend. The event’s committee included Evander Holyfield, Barry Diller, Diane Von Furstenberg, Tina Brown, Alec Baldwin, Susan Sarandon and Swatch, which contributed a watch featuring Lady Liberty that was used as napkin rings for the 350 guests. A limited number of these commemorative watches, which were brought back from a previous collection, will be available at New York Swatch stores.

NASAL CONGESTION: Brief as it is, Monet Mazur’s sexpot performance in “40 Days and 40 Nights” is likely to do wonders for increasing her media exposure, considering she photocopies her derriere in a scene that references the seductive exploits of Mrs. Robinson in “The Graduate.” But that doesn’t explain the crowd of wannabe gate-crashers that kept the security staff of DKNY on its toes Tuesday night when the actress hosted a post-screening party at its Madison Avenue store. Dozens of young women — noses to the store’s glass walls — were under the impression that the film’s co-star, Josh Hartnett, might make an appearance. When it finally became apparent that he wasn’t coming, one woman held a sign up asking, “please+pretty please,” could she at least have a gift bag?

Mazur was safely ensconced upstairs, wearing a black mesh DKNY dress that she picked herself from the company’s showroom. “I never wear black — ever,” she said. “But I saw this and thought it was a great punk rock-meets-ballerina dress. It’s girly and rough at the same time.” But just when things seemed to be settling down outside, pandemonium broke out once again, as one guest picked up a chair and dashed out the door, another ran out with a bag of ice and third man pursued, bearing a roll of bathroom tissue. It turns out that Mazur’s dad had misjudged the store’s architecture and walked right into a glass wall, bloodying his nose. He survived.

HILTON HANDBAG: The ubiquitous Hilton sisters have added another product to their expanding fashion business. Nicky Hilton’s first handbag line will make its debut during accessories market next week, just in time to hit stores for back-to-school. The timing of the launch is fitting since the younger Hilton sister is a student herself; she is currently taking design and psychology classes at the New School.

Nicky isn’t jumping into the scene completely on her own. She has a deal with handbag designer Samantha Thavasa under which she is featured in company ads and is helping out with the design of the bags, which feature such materials as suede, denim, lace, fur and cotton jersey. Her name will even be featured on the collection, called Samantha Thavasa New York by Nicky Hilton. Wholesale prices range from $65 to $215 for the Nicky Hilton line, which is being shown at the Apropo showroom. Nicky and her sister, Paris, already have a jewelry line, and the duo’s fragrance is on the way.

PRINCELY DUDS: Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, the French designer who famously dressed Pope John Paul II for the church’s youth days in Paris a few years back, has a thing for fantastical clothes. So the designer should find it a snap to whip up the costumes for the upcoming Paris production of “The Little Prince,” a musical adaptation of the classic children’s tale by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Director Richard Cocciante commissioned Castelbajac to design the costumes. The show will bow at the Casino theatre on Oct. 1.

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