DANGEROUS LIAISONS: Arthur de Soultrait, the aristocratic French designer who this week found himself at the center of a tabloid scandal involving his close friend Pippa Middleton and a “gun scare,” has issued an apologetic statement giving his side of the story. Earlier this week, the Mail Online, the Web site of Britain’s Daily Mail, featured photos of the pair being driven through the streets of Paris in an Audi A5 Cabriolet, showing the vehicle’s unidentified driver brandishing what the paper described as “a realistic-looking weapon.”

“Last Saturday, I was in a car with Pippa Middleton, and we were being followed by paparazzi. She had been subject to constant and dangerous harassment by the paparazzi throughout her time in Paris. The car was being driven by a friend of mine, whom Pippa had only met a few hours before. As a joke, my friend brandished a toy pistol in their direction,” stated de Soultrait. “Obviously Pippa had no idea that he was going to do that and told him to stop immediately.…I regret enormously that this incident happened, and especially that Pippa has been subject to the subsequent attention through no fault of her own.”

This story first appeared in the April 19, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The Mail Online article claimed that the “French authorities are investigating the incident after receiving a complaint from a member of the public at a time when the capital is on high alert after a string of fatal shootings.”

A Paris-based police spokesman confirmed to WWD that no complaint has been filed linked to the reported incident. Middleton had come to Paris to attend a decadent 17th- and 18th-century-themed costume party held at a Paris theater on Friday night in honor of de Soultrait’s 30th birthday and the seventh anniversary of his polo-inspired sportswear line, Vicomte A.

De Soultrait recently acquired the defunct historic gunsmith brand Gastinne Renette, which was once the official gunsmith to the court of Napoleon III, with a view to relaunching the brand as a heritage clothing line geared to attract a broader clientele. He presented the debut collection of the Gastinne Renette by Vicomte A. men’s and women’s apparel line in September. The line boasts as its logo a pair of crossed dueling pistols.

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