CROSS-COUTURE: Crise or no crise, many couture houses say business is booming. And at least one of them has found a whole new customer base. According to the house’s designer, a crop of jet-setting transvestites and transsexuals has started to buy couture. “One of them comes by private jet and buys ten dresses at once,” said the designer. “He goes into the fitting room, just like everybody else.” Was this a transsexual or a transvestite? “I don’t know if he came with or without an accessory,” responded the designer.

FRANCO-ITALIAN PACT: Karl Lagerfeld and Gianni Versace can’t seem to get enough of each other. Saturday night, the pair jointly hosted a party chez Karl, and on Monday night they appeared on French television, complimenting each other’s collections. Now Karl promises that something “commercial” is in the works, but won’t say what. Maybe they’ll do QVC together, since Karl is in love with the idea of the new channel. “Diane Von Furstenberg told me all about it, and I’m dying to be on,” he said. Karl will certainly have something to pitch later in the year. He and Elizabeth Arden are launching a new perfume named Sun, Moon and Stars. Karl is also planning to do the costumes for Francis Ford Coppola’s new movie, “Pinocchio.”

LIFE AFTER: Christian Lacroix is getting a new fragrance, too, but not until 1995. No name has been chosen yet for the perfume, which will be produced and distributed by Parfums Givenchy. As for C’est La Vie, Lacroix’s current fragrance, there are rumors it may be pulled from the stores. Parfums Dior, which produces that fragrance and is, like Givenchy and Lacroix, controlled by Bernard Arnault, refused to comment.

HAUTE HOSPITAL: The chicest place in Paris around Christmastime was the American Hospital in Neuilly. Among the patients: Marie-Helene de Rothschild, Jacqueline de Ribes and Yves Saint Laurent.

HIGH-DEFINITION COUTURE: Event Media’s plan to broadcast the couture collections in the U.S. may have collapsed, but their former French partners have been busy shooting the shows in high-definition TV anyway. Paris-based HD Mode has already shot over a dozen collections and closed a deal to broadcast them on a French cable and satellite chanel. “The U.S. deal didn’t fail because it was a bad idea. It failed because we had bad partners,” said HD Mode’s president Jacques Scandelari, who added that his group is talking with two U.S. groups interested in broadcasting couture footage. Both HD Mode and the Chambre Syndicale are suing Event Media for breach of contract.