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HIRE UP: Alessandra Facchinetti is settling into the pilot’s seat at Valentino and wasting no time in building up the design team. According to sources, the designer, who regularly shuttles between Milan and Rome, has lured Antonio Pino, an assistant at Dolce & Gabbana, to help on the women’s line. On the men’s wear front, she has tapped Ferruccio Pozzoni to head up the still-small division, according to sources. Pozzoni cut his teeth at Prada, Miu Miu and Brioni. An announcement is expected shortly.

PRETTY IN PINK: Riding their bicycles or facing fierce gridlock on Thursday night, French fashionistas eager to see the new Diane von Furstenberg boutique and pay their respects to the designer did not let Paris’ citywide transportation strikes stop them. And their journey was well worth it. The 2,400-square-foot flagship at 29 Rue François 1er, just steps away from Avenue Montaigne, was illuminated by massive projectors in vivid pink. The event drew in guests such as Lee Radziwill, Leá Drucker, Vanessa Seward and Marie-Josée Croze. “There’s something very special about Rue François 1er,” said Diane von Furstenberg, as she doodled the word “Paris” on the shop’s guest book. “When I first became successful, I used to stay at the Plaza Athenee and felt like a glorious American tourist. [The street] had that gilded sense of luxury.” Von Furstenberg said she will continue on her worldwide tour to Los Angeles, New York, China and Moscow for some store openings along the way, to bring her total store count to 22 before yearend.

Meanwhile, Canadian actress Croze said she is keeping just as busy a schedule promoting her film “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” while working on two new movies, “The New Protocol” and “Two Days to Kill.” “It’s a juggling act,” she said, as she showed off her black von Furstenberg dress and chatted with gal pals Drucker and budding French actress Mélanie Bernier.

HOME SWEET HOME: Charlotte Moss extended the hours at her Upper East Side Townhouse store in Manhattan on Wednesday for a Friends of the Costume Institute event-cum-salon on the famed interior decorator and designer Elsie de Wolfe. Guests like Lauren Davis, Amy Fine Collins and Amanda Ross crowded together on the fifth floor, where Harold Koda introduced speaker Louis Bofferding, who gave a detailed talk (complete with slides) on de Wolfe, including her ongoing obsession with 18th-century decor, her pioneering plastic surgery endeavor in the early 20th century and her eccentric fashion moves, like dressing as a fountain for a costume party and tinting her hair blue. Afterwards, over Champagne and hors d’oeuvres, guests perused de Wolfe memorabilia that both Moss and Bofferding have amassed over the years. Indeed, Moss has been inspired for quite some time, even naming a china design she did for Pickard after de Wolfe and cleaning house at a Christie’s auction of de Wolfe items in Los Angeles. “I sacked,” laughed Moss. “What a girl wants, a girl has to get.”

This story first appeared in the October 22, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

ELIE’S FANS: Shopping was the theme for Elie Tahari in L.A. last Tuesday. He hit the stores on Robertson Boulevard, Rodeo Drive and Melrose Avenue, where he picked up a dress for his three-year-old daughter at Fred Segal, in the morning and afternoon. At night, he opened his 5,000-square-foot boutique within the Beverly Hills’ Saks Fifth Avenue to shoppers whose purchases raised money for The Alliance for Children’s Rights. Marcia Cross, Kristen Bell and Stacy Keibler were among those who browsed the racks. Cross, who wore a brass-colored Elie Tahari dress, debated three wardrobe choices for the evening. “This one was so easy. I just went with the mood I was in,” she said. Bell, casual in a Juicy Couture jacket, Elie Tahari top and Hudson jeans, said Tahari has started to play a larger role in her closet. “I have recently been exposed to Elie Tahari,” she said. “His stuff is really classic, but at the same time he has gotten hipper.”

SHOP TILL YOU DROP: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are seasoned shoppers, but they turned the tables Thursday night when they welcomed fans and designing friends including Jenni Kayne and Christian Louboutin to a shopping party for their contemporary label Elizabeth and James at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills. Though their older brother inspired half the line’s name, the Olsens didn’t offer any men’s clothes, which didn’t bother Louboutin. Instead, the shoe designer said he was surprised by the vast size of their inaugural fall collection, which is produced by Vernon, Calif.-based L’Koral Industries. “When I started my line, I did it little by little,” Louboutin said. “But [Elizabeth and James is] very, very well-managed. More than anything else, it’s very good.” Kayne supported her friends by squeezing into a black banded miniskirt from the Olsens’ designer label The Row and trying on a $995 red wool-cashmere coat trimmed with fox fur from Elizabeth and James. “I’m excited for them,” Kayne said, who will open her first store today in West Hollywood.

Also that night, another gaggle of shoppers whipped out their wallets at the bash that Nordstrom and In Style magazine threw at Hollywood’s Boulevard3 nightclub for eight emerging contemporary labels: Chulo Pony, Viridis Luxe, Sunner, Karta, Meghan, Dorothy Lee, Rory Beca and L.A.M.B. Though L.A.M.B.’s Gwen Stefani didn’t come to the party, all the other designers did, including Sunner’s Susan Denner Lee, who lives in New York. “It’s important to be in touch with your retailer and, as a vendor, with your customers,” she said.

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