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Gianfranco Ferré's White Knight?... Vera Wang, Zale Close to Deal...

There is another white knight on the horizon that may guarantee a future for the Gianfranco Ferré label.

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FOCUSING ON FERRÉ: There is another white knight on the horizon that may guarantee a future for the Gianfranco Ferré label. A Milan-based source said the Dubai-based Paris Group has submitted a binding offer to Ferré’s three state-appointed administrators. Paris Group was founded more than 20 years ago by Abdulkader Sankari and is a fashion distributor and franchisee in the Middle East, where it operates more than 250 stores in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia for brands ranging from Versace and Cerruti, to Canali and Ferré itself. “This is a real offer, they are very keen,” said the source.

In December, Ferré’s sale procedure was unexpectedly stalled when Samsung pulled out of a deal with Prodos Capital Management LLC and Salmar Shipping Ltd. Prodos, according to a source, is considering joining forces with Paris Group.

IS THERE A DIAMOND IN VERA’S FUTURE?: WWD has heard from market sources that Vera Wang and jewelry chain Zale Corp. are thisclose to inking a deal for a diamond collection that would be exclusive to the third-largest jeweler in the U.S. The deal reportedly also involves a third party as the stone supplier. One banker said it would be a good deal for Zale, since the bridal business is one of the few that is recession-proof. Executives at Wang did not return calls for comment. A Zale spokeswoman said if an announcement were to be made, it would be when the firm next reports earnings on Feb. 23.

HONORING IKRAM: First Lady Michelle Obama’s wardrobe adviser and Chicago retailer Ikram Goldman will receive the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Legend of Fashion Award presented by Sally Singer, editor of T: The New York Times Style Magazine, during the school’s annual student fashion show and fund-raiser May 5. It should prove a shining moment for Goldman, who is reportedly planning to open a new, larger 10,000- to 12,000-square-foot bi-level Chicago store featuring men’s and women’s apparel and a cafe along Huron Street around the same time. Past recipients of the Legend of Fashion Award include designers Anna Sui, Nicole Miller, Maria Pinto and Gary Graham.

SUPPORT NETWORK: For his first official trunk-show tour at Barneys New York this February, Carven designer Guillaume Henry has quite an impressive backup system. He is kicking off the trip at Barneys’ San Francisco store with an afternoon tea co-hosted by social doyenne and vintage and new Carven fan Vanessa Getty and Simon Doonan. Doonan, the store’s creative ambassador at large, will take over hosting duties in Beverly Hills on Feb. 5 and Chicago on Feb. 7, before Henry flies to New York, where Alexa Chung will receive him at the Madison Avenue store on Feb. 8.

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