DRESSED TO SELL?: The hot Paris fashion house of Azzaro could be in play. According to sources, Compagnie Frey, which bought Azzaro in 2002 in a bid to expand its luxury holdings, has tapped investment firm BNP Paribas in Paris to explore strategic options — and one of them could be a sale of the company. It’s certainly an opportune time. The house, known for sexy gowns, has been revved up in recent years thanks to designer Vanessa Seward, who succeeded house founder Loris Azzaro after his death in 2003. Azzaro’s celebrity devotees include Nicole Kidman and Salma Hayek.

FROM TV TO STUDIO: Austin Scarlett didn’t win “Project Runway,” but he has a new job as designer of the Kenneth Pool bridal label. The quirky and flamboyant former finalist on the show is replacing Kenneth Pool himself. Scarlett, whose eccentric designs and glamour-obsessed aesthetic were refined at the Fashion Institute of Technology where he specialized in eveningwear design, will launch his first collection for the bridal house at market week in April. The split between Amsale Aberra, the company’s founder and creative director, and Pool seems to be amicable. Pool’s three-year contract expired at the beginning of January. Amsale said, “He decided not to renew his contract and to go ahead and pursue other opportunities.”

This story first appeared in the January 12, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

NUDE ATTITUDE: “The view’s incredible,” hip French actor Romain Duris exclaimed Tuesday night when Louis Vuitton inaugurated its new gallery and cultural space atop the company’s Champs-Elysées flagship. As for the art on the walls, Vanessa Beecroft‘s photos of naked ladies, he barely blinked. “I’m used to naked scenes for my movies, so it doesn’t shock me,” said Duris, who divulged he’ll be filming U.S. director Chris Patterson‘s latest movie, “Electric Slide,” this summer. “I find her [Beecroft’s] live installations fascinating, and the wigs, they’re so much fun,” agreed actress Isabelle Huppert, eyeing the cotton-candy pink Afros worn by some of the black models.

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