ST. JOHN A NO SHOW?: Just like that, St. John is off the Los Angeles Fashion Week calendar. Sources said its collection, under design consultant Tim Gardner, just wasn’t up to snuff for the runway. There’s also speculation the timing wasn’t right to present a collection while St. John is still hoping to snare a high-profile designer. The latest is that it has held talks with is Vera Wang, and those discussions are off — for now. The breakdown in discussions with Wang followed St. John’s earlier attempt to land Narciso Rodriguez for the job.

And what does St. John have to say? A spokeswoman claimed the brand opted out of the L.A. tents to “do private appointments with wholesale accounts via four regional runway shows. For press, we’ll do a press preview in New York and maybe Los Angeles.” The smaller presentations will take place “probably before the first week of April.” St. John, she added, “will be back at the tents next season. But they just decided this was the best way to show the collection this time.”

The loss is another brand’s gain. Bebe had been aggressively after a night spot to present its new Bebe Collection — a luxe version designed with David Cardona and Arianne Phillips. In a snap, Bebe went from an afternoon Wednesday slot to the closing spot Thursday night.

CHANGE IS AFOOT AT BYBLOS: The buzz in Milan is that the design trio at Byblos is ready to head for the door. Greg Myler, Stefano Citron and Federico Piaggi joined the house in 2002 when the Verona-based Swinger International took over the company from Prada and wanted to revamp the brand. Myler, Citron and Piaggi go way back, as they worked together at Mila Schön for more than six years before Byblos. However, it appears the designers are now ready to experiment with their own separate fashion brands. Their departure would leave Manuel Facchini, one of the owners of Swinger International and brother of Mathias, chief executive officer of the company, in charge of design. Facchini started working with the trio on the fall 2005 collection.

This story first appeared in the March 10, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

GLAM SLAM: Pedestrians on the Champs-Elysees in Paris witnessed celebrity pandemonium Thursday when a convoy pulled up outside the Louis Vuitton flagship — one car sheltering pop diva Mariah Carey. The songstress is in town filming her latest music video — and the Vuitton boutique has a starring role. The plotline for the “Say Something” video, also featuring Pharrell Williams and Snoop Dogg, has Williams arranging to have the luxury temple closed to the public, allowing Carey’s character to shop in peace. And you guessed it: the cast will be dressed head-to-toe in Vuitton. The video, directed by Paul Hunter with cinematography by Darius Khondji, is slated to continue shooting in the store tonight.

SOCIAL WORLD: Who knew a New York socialite had such pull — and in Japan, no less? Tinsley Mortimer has been tapped as the face of Japanese handbag and jewelry brand Samantha Thavasa. But Mortimer isn’t the first social to work with the 12-year-old brand, which earlier used the Hilton sisters and Victoria Beckham as faces. Thavasa plans to open a New York store this spring, so expect Mortimer and her clique to be sporting its wares for the next few months at least.

SNAP HAPPY: Next up at the Pierre Bergé/Yves Saint Laurent Foundation in Paris will be an exhibit devoted to Andre Ostier, the photographer Bergé describes as a “sort of French Cecil Beaton.” Known for a penetrating and poetic style, Ostier snapped luminaries from Pierre Bonnard and Henri Matisse to Truman Capote and Paul Valery. The late lensman also used his Rolleiflex to document some of his era’s chicest fetes, including famous balls thrown by Carlos de Beistegui and the Baron de Rede. The show, which will replace an installation of YSL’s smoking suits, is set to open May 18.

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