DONNA’S INTERVIEW PROCESS: No, there’s still no official word on when/if Donna Karan’s chief executive Fred Wilson is heading to Saks Fifth Avenue, but the interviewing for his replacement has begun. As reported, Jeffry M. Aronsson, currently ceo of Marc Jacobs, is believed to be the leading candidate. Backing up this report: Aronsson has been seen at Karan’s headquarters at 550 Seventh Avenue for no less than two meetings with the designer herself, each of which lasted around two hours, according to sources. He’s been out to dinner with Karan, and out to dinner with Wilson, too. Surely he’s not just trying to figure out how to work those seven easy pieces.
NIC AT NIGHT: The American Cinemateque’s decision to honor Nicole Kidman seems to have catapulted its status from one of Hollywood’s premier love fests to an A+ fashion event. Vogue’s Anna Wintour will host a table, as will Tom Ford. With 10 people at each table, there seems to have been some wars about who gets to sit with whom. Chanel’s chief operating officer, Arie Kopelman, also will host a table, as will Bulgari, so it will be interesting to see who pulls in the most star power at Friday’s gala. Prada and Dolce & Gabbana also are participating in the evening. Already, Naomi Watts, Chloë Sevigny, Natalie Portman and Baz Luhrmann are on board to toast Kidman, a decidedly more fashiony crowd than when actors Denzel Washington, Harrison Ford and Bruce Willis were honored in years past, though honorees Martin Scorcese and Jodie Foster scored support from Armani.
STORE WARS: There was an awkward silence in the Gucci department at Bergdorf Goodman on Friday afternoon, and it wasn’t just another Tom Ford moment of mourning. François Henri Pinault was touring the store, along with an entourage of Gucci execs, including Mark Lee, president of YSL, and Patricia Malone, president of Gucci, and was escorted by Ron Frasch, chief executive of Bergdorf, and Robert Burke, its vice president and senior fashion director. One sight none of them could have expected to see among the Gucci designs was Jaqui Lividini, senior vice president of fashion merchandising at BG’s rival Saks Fifth Avenue, along with her fashion directors. Pinault apparently did not recognize Lividini, but the rest of the gang sure did.
Lividini’s camp played down the encounter, though, saying it was just one stop on a tour of the competition that day, including stops at Henri Bendel and Barneys New York.
PARIS IN MELBOURNE: Paris Hilton might be all over the Web, but she capped off a sojourn Down Under in the same way she’d spent the past fortnight — posing for appreciative lensmen in not terribly much clothing. The star attraction at Wayne Cooper’s “Hardcore Deluxe” show on Tuesday night, the first evening of Mercedes Australian Fashion Week in Melbourne, Hilton didn’t disappoint the camera gallery with her pouty moves in Cooper’s microkilt and mini cocktail dress with navel-grazing décolletage. It was the latest Hilton fashion unveiling since touching down Oct. 30 with her more demurely clad sister, Nikki, as VIP guests of Channel 7 at the Melbourne Cup Carnival. During the festivities, Paris turned heads at the Derby in a Bettina Liano corset dress and raised a few more eyebrows at the Melbourne Cup in a cropped halter top and midriff-baring skirt of her own design. We can apparently expect to see a lot more of Hilton’s barely there designs. She leaves today for New York, where she’ll start work on her first clothing range, slated to bow some time next year. The line — she said it will be either “Paris” or “Princess Paris” — will be “cute.”
“I want to do something different [from other celebrity lines],” she said, “really girly, sexy clothes, short skirts, really low-cut dresses. Stuff I would wear.”