CAVALLI’S GOOD DEED: Though Roberto Cavalli has been busy opening a string of nightclubs — the first opened last Saturday in a renovated 15th century church in Florence — he took time Wednesday night to give back to a group of nearly 25 youngsters from the Little Sisters of the Assumption community center in East Harlem through a partnership with Free Arts NYC. The Italian designer, along with Free Arts board member and stylist Mary Alice Stephenson, spent two hours with the youngsters who were familiar with Cavalli’s work through his designs worn by the likes of Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera and Miley Cyrus. Cavalli supplied his sartorial guidance and his own fabrics to the children to help them make handmade scarves with various beaded and jewel adornments. He also gave them briefcases of art supplies from FAO Schwarz. “He was the most fashion Santa Claus I’ve ever seen,” said Stephenson of Cavalli.

This story first appeared in the December 19, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

IS OLIVIER OUT?: Olivier Theyskens is still the designer at Nina Ricci, at least for now. In response to a report that the designer’s spring ’09 show may have been his last, Mario Grauso, president of Ricci parent company Puig Fashion, said Theyskens will remain at the creative helm of the house at least through the expiration of his current contract in October. “At this point, we’re very happy with his contribution,” said Grauso. “I look forward to seeing his next show, after which we’ll start the negotiations, which is typical.”

DOWN BUT NOT OUT: Senior staffers at Bill Blass were said to be negotiating severance packages Thursday with management. NexCen Brands Inc., which owns Bill Blass Couture and its ready-to-wear business, is still trying to make a last-ditch effort to sell the company. As reported, industry observers expect the Bill Blass Couture operation to be shuttered by the end of the year.

The company still has some top-notch talent on board, including men’s wear designer Michael Bastian and Prabal Gurung on the women’s side. A few employees have already found greener pastures, including public relations manager Hana Kim. Next month she will join Erin Fetherston as public relations/marketing manager.

NexCen executives had nothing new to report Thursday, according to a company spokeswoman. But Bill Blass staffers are preparing for pink slips, which some say could start today.

CLEANING HOUSE: This season may be the season to end all seasons for sample sales, holiday shopping nights and rock-bottom discounts, but Steven Alan hasn’t lost sight of a little charity. The designer has donated 1,000 pieces of women’s and men’s clothes to Housing Works Thrift Stores. The assortment, which includes his own label as well as others that are available in his store, will be sold Dec. 27. But Alan insisted his generosity is not due to the rocky retail climate. “Basically, every time we have a sample sale, there are things left over — some we donate and some stay in our inventory. This year we decided to clean house from several past sample sales,” he said.

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