THE Italian designer Romeo Gigli is diversifying. But he is not putting his name on pots and pans, backgammon boards, cigarettes or skis, as other fashion designers have done before him - he is putting it on carpets.

Gigli's work has always taken in Eastern influences, so it is fitting that his first venture away from clothing should be reworkings of the traditional Turkish kelim.

Gigli's kelims, launched in Milan this week, have already attracted the attention of Ettore Sottsass, founder of the Memphis movement and the man whose opinion just about everyone in Milan seeks before investing in things for their homes.

Romeo Gigli's carpets, which average 10ft by 10ft, feature blue moons and yellow stars and other cosmic symbols. Unfortunately for Gigli aficionados, the prices are somewhat celestial, too - starting at around pounds 3,600 for rugs handmade in Konya, in central Turkey. Only 15 will be made in each style.

Anybody who orders one will be in for a long wait, too, as Gigli is careful to ensure that the carpets are made only by contracted adult weavers, not child labour.

The carpets have been produced in collaboration with Christopher Farr, the London dealer in handmade rugs. Mr Farr has a gallery in Primrose Hill where Gigli's rugs will be on limited sale from September.

It is the first time Mr Farr has worked with a fashion designer to update traditional rugs, but not his first foray into the fashion world. Starting in June, he will show rugs by Maxime de la Falaise, the furniture designer who also happens to be the mother of Yves Saint Laurent's muse, Loulou de la Falaise Klossowski and grandmother of fashion's hottest brother and sister act of the moment, the elfin model Lucie and her actor brother, Daniel, erstwhile friend of Madonna.

Maxime de la Falaise's rugs will be available to order from 2 June and Romeo Gigli's from September from Christopher Farr, 115 Regent's Park Road, London NW1 (071-916 7690).

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