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Chanel brings a burst of wintry softness to Paris Haute Couture

The second day of Couture Fashion Week in Paris saw Karl Lagerfel realize his vision of ‘new vintage’ and Stephane Rolland’s warrior-goddess re-emerges

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The Chanel Haute Couture invitation featured two words – New Vintage – along with the softly drawn profile of an Audrey Hepburn-esque beauty. Lagerfeld (whose hand always creates these illustrations) realized this idea with swingy coats and softened suiting – pieces that felt familiar yet refreshed.

Francois Mori/AP

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Time and again, Lagerfeld is able to rethink the details, never exhausting the possibilities. Here, he’s added a pleated ruffle to the hem of a tweed jacket, creating a pretty blouse effect.

Francois Mori/AP

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There was a certain twinkle that ran through the collection. Hairnets sparkled, tweed coats with metallic threads and beading appeared as if dusted in flurries and silvery tights added shine. This coat, in particular, boasted a holographic veneer.

Benoit Tessier/Reuters

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Every season has a colour and for FW12 Haute Couture, it’s shaping up to be a wintry rose.

Benoit Tessier/Reuters

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For those considering a winter wedding, this Chanel gown (modeled by Lindsey Wixon) is not short on fairytale fullness.

Francois Mori/AP

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Of all the influence possessed by Vogue editor-in-chief, the almighty Anna Wintour, she’s powerless in getting Karl Lagerfeld to smile for a photo.

Francois Mori/AP

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Once again, Stephane Rolland seemed to have a warrior-goddess-celebrity hybrid in mind when designing his Couture collection. Body-skimming silhouettes were accented with futuristic frou-frou – moulded waist flares, fringed shoulders, feathered skirt patches and most of all, sexy asymmetrical cutouts. Exactly the kind of dresses Kim Kardashian would wear.

Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

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Speak of the devil! There’s Kim arriving to Stephane Rolland with boyfriend Kanye West. Too bad their idea of fashionably late means showing up just before the final look, a wedding dress modelled by actress Fan Bing Bing.

Jacques Brinon/AP

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Here comes the bride.

Jacques Brinon/AP

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Despite a grouping of red carpet gowns, the Armani Privé point of differentiation is precise tailoring and couture that need not be reserved for special occasions. The bands of colour on this knit echo the soft hues at Chanel and Versace. The bejeweled veil, meanwhile, continues a trend towards bizarre visage styling.

Benoit Tessier/Reuters

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Here’s more confirmation that Giorgio Armani fully understands that his core Couture client base is not red carpet stars, but women in emerging markets (Brazil, Russia, China, India) who can afford to spend huge sums on timeless fashion.

Benoit Tessier/Reuters

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