THEYSKENS’ NEXT STEP: Ever since Procter & Gamble said it was pulling the plug on the Rochas ready-to-wear collection designed by Olivier Theyskens, the fashion crowd has gone wild with rumors about the Belgian designer’s next move. While some would like to see Theyskens take on the design helm at Chloé, where a successor for Phoebe Philo has still to be determined, others have been wondering if he is seeking investors to resurrect his own line. Then there are those who speculate Theyskens will cross the pond and set up shop in New York. The designer is said to have been hunting for a Manhattan apartment in the past few months, and his front-row appearance at Oscar de la Renta‘s resort show in June has many wondering if Theyskens may be taking a job at de la Renta. No way, de la Renta said Monday. “I haven’t spoken to him personally, but from what I understand, he would like to stay in Europe,” the designer said.

CHOI TO LEAVE CHOO? Sandra Choi, Jimmy Choo’s creative director and a company shareholder, will not renew her contract when it expires next year, WWD has learned. Choi has written a letter to company principals outlining her plans, and is already in talks with other luxury brands, according to industry sources. For the past 10 years, Choi has worked alongside the company’s president Tamara Mellon to build Jimmy Choo into a $100 million label with 48 retail stores worldwide. Choi worked alongside her uncle Jimmy Choo in London from the early Nineties and continued with the firm once Mellon acquired a stake in 1996. In 2001, Choo exited the business, which is now majority owned by Lion Capital, the European private equity investment firm formerly known as Hicks Muse. A Choo spokeswoman in New York declined comment except to say that Choi’s contract extends through the end of the year. A Choo spokeswoman in London did not return phone calls seeking further comment.

GAME PLANS: Move over Madonna: H&M has signed another Italian to star in its upcoming campaign. Riding the World Cup wave, the Swedish fast-fashion giant said Monday it signed soccer stud and style icon Paolo Maldini to model men’s wear in its campaign for next fall. Instead of his usual shorts and jerseys, Maldini will sport such looks such as tweed suits, cashmere cardigans and pea coats.

This story first appeared in the July 25, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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