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TOP CAT: Hussein Chalayan is expected to be named creative director of sportswear giant Puma. Sources in Paris said the London-based designer, who held a runway show for his fashion line Wednesday, has been tapped by Puma to up the lifestyle brand’s style quotient. It is understood that Puma, controlled by retail and luxury giant PPR, also will invest in Chalayan’s business. Jochen Zeitz, Puma’s chief executive officer, sat beside PPR ceo François-Henri Pinault at the Chalayan show, but both declined all comment. Puma has been a player in the fashion-meets-sporting goods arena in the past, collaborating with designers including Alexander McQueen, Jil Sander and Philippe Starck. Last year it launched Urban Mobility, a premium accessories range. It also tapped Lydia Hearst to design a handbag collection and fitness line. Puma and Chalayan are to host a press conference and luncheon today in Paris.

THE BLUES: Joana Preiss, Fiona Scarry, Lou Doillon and Beatrice Dalle were among front-row faces at Givenchy Wednesday night. Doillon said she had the jitters about presenting her Lee Cooper line Sunday while midtour for her “Love Letters” lectures. “I’m going to have to travel back from the middle of France at dawn Sunday morning,” said the actress, who also disclosed that she’s about to start shooting an indie flick with a young American director. “It’s a big project, but I can’t go official yet,” she said, adding that the entire movie will be shot in a house on the edge of Paris. Scarry, meanwhile, said she’s put her artwork on hold to design a line of interior couture fabrics for the New York-based silk specialist MacOndo Silks.

This story first appeared in the February 28, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

TO THE NINES: It looks like Eve has a habit of leaving things to the last minute. The R&B queen was escorted to her seat seconds before the Emanuel Ungaro show got under way Wednesday. “We were a little behind schedule,” said the songstress of her new album, “Here I Am.” “I’ve been in the studio nonstop.”

Meanwhile, “Heroes” actress Ali Larter and her fiancé, Hayes MacArthur, are taking things at a more leisurely pace. “We’ve been at the Plaza Athénée for three days and haven’t been out to see anything yet,” she cooed.

Designer Esteban Cortazar’s mom, jazz singer Dominique Vaughan, flew in from Sri Lanka for the show, dressed in a vibrant sari and snapping photos like crazy. “We’ll be going shopping for things for his new apartment,” she said. Legendary embroiderer François Lesage, who had come to sniff out the new designer, said his house is so knee-deep in orders that it’s looking to expand its atelier. “Whereas in my day, there were two rounds of collections per year, today there are nine,” he said.

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