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HIS AND HERS: Hedi Slimane still has a strong female following for his Dior Homme men’s wear. To wit: model Linda Evangelista popped in to the new Dior boutique on Rue Royale Wednesday afternoon to check out the fall arrivals. Since small sizes are scarce, Evangelista had one overriding concern, voiced to the sales staff: “Has Karl come in yet?” she asked, referring to Lagerfeld’s well-known Dior Homme addiction.

This story first appeared in the July 8, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

STEP BY STEP: Oprah Winfrey has been working her way gradually into the high-fashion club. “I bought my first Valentino scarf in the Seventies. Then came the shoes, then came the blouse and now I can afford the whole outfit,” she remarked from her front-row perch before the Valentino show Tuesday night. Winfrey — who is attending the couture for the first time, and filming an upcoming segment on her talk show about the Roman couturier —- got a sneak preview backstage. “Just you wait and see. It’s weeping beautiful,” she pronounced. And while the couture calendar is dwindling, Winfrey said she’s optimistic for the future of the tradition. “Couture is what keeps fashion alive,” she said. Elsewhere, Kristin Scott Thomas praised the relaxed pace of the week. “You can wear whatever you want to the show, that’s what I love about couture,” she said.

RAY OF LIGHT: Bernard Arnault, who recently bought monolithic Richard Serra and Matthew Barney sculptures and other works for his new LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton headquarters in Paris, seems to be on a contemporary art spree. Word has it the luxury titan is in talks with James Turrell to do a major work for the forthcoming Christian Dior building in Tokyo’s Ginza district.

ROOM SERVICE: Azzedine Alaïa’s three-room hotel in the Marais won’t open officially until later this month, but it welcomed its first guest during couture week: Financial Times fashion editor Vanessa Friedman. “It is much more like being in an apartment building or a home,” she said. The new hotel is a joint venture with Milan retailer Carla Sozzani of 10 Corso Como and will feature full-floor suites.

SPORT REPORT: Anna Mouglalis is getting in touch with her Greek roots. Bronzed from the Athenian sun, where she’s filming “Real Life,” the French actress swept in to the Chanel show Wednesday with her thoughts still on the Acropolis. “This year is Greece’s year. They swept the European Cup [soccer championship] and next the Olympics,” she predicted. But Mouglalis said she would cheer for France during the Games. “I would love to see Eunice Barber run,” said Mouglalis of France’s heptathlon heroine. “She’s mythical.”

GOWN TOWN: Serving as her own best model, Azzaro designer Vanessa Seward, in a stunning bejeweled ivory gown from her new collection, welcomed guests on Tuesday night to celebrate the house’s revamped Paris flagship. “I’m a little nervous,” admitted the ultra-chic Seward. “It’s the first time I’ve hosted an event.” But the stress didn’t show as she made the rounds with Cameron Silver of Los Angeles’ Decades, her creative consultant. “We just got the look book [for next season] in L.A.,” offered Silver. “And we’re already flooded with requests. The only problem is that we’ve yet to receive the samples.”

IN THE BAG: Roger Vivier is keeping a toehold in couture week, using the occasion to launch a jewelry and accessories collections, including a debut line of Vivier handbags. “I wanted to demonstrate the credibility of the craftsmanship,” said designer Bruno Frisoni. The bags, including a series of crocodile shoulder styles with silver linked straps, are slated to arrive in select U.S. stores next January.