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Paris Couture Week: Givenchy dresses nose-to-toe, Armani goes green

Every day this week, the Globe's Amy Verner will be reporting from the runways of the Haute Couture Shows in Paris. Day two brings a whole lot of blue, chartreuse and 'nose sculpture.' Oh, and a trip on Karl Lagerfeld's imagined plane

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Call it the mile haute club. For Chanel’s spring couture collection, Karl Lagerfeld had the body of a jet plane constructed within the Grand Palais. Models, in every theme and variation on blue, walked down the central aisle, er runway.

Benoit Tessier / Reuters/Benoit Tessier / Reuters

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This was less an homage to air travel (one would assume the civilized moments, anyway) as it was to the constraints and possibilities of a single colour. Where lighter shades provided a sportier platform for wide-neck jackets and floaty dresses, darker hues called for formal, Coco-channelling fare.

Benoit Tessier / Reuters/Benoit Tessier / Reuters

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Minutes before the Giorgio Armani Privée show started, applause erupted from the front row. Actress and guest Jessica Chastain had just received news about her Oscar nomination (for The Help). So if it wasn’t before, the show became a reconnaissance mission. Could this paillette-covered mermaid dress be the one?

Christophe Ena / AP

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While Lagerfeld zeroed in on blue, Armani set his sights on green, specifically an intense shade of chartreuse. Granted, it’s not an easy colour against most complexions, hence the dark bustier, which serves a buffer before such a voluminous expanse of fluorescent mesh (embroidered in Swarovski crystals, no less).

Christophe Ena / AP/Christophe Ena / AP

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This is not the first time snakes have appeared on the runway for spring (and no, they were not on Lagerfeld’s plane). The serpent motif also made an appearance in Alber Elbaz’s ready-to-wear collection for Lanvin. And yet, according to the Chinese calendar, it’s actually the Year of the Dragon.

Christophe Ena / AP/Christophe Ena / AP

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In some respects, the Armani suit has come a long way; his fabrics (“grosgrain lurex”, “geometric crinoline”) put the tech in textiles yet remain consistently sophisticated. And the cuts remain classic but with noticeable tweaks – an exaggerated point here, a sloped line there.

Christophe Ena / AP/Christophe Ena / AP

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There was more chartreuse over at Stephane Rolland’s show on Tuesday. But here’s an example where the only counterbalance is a waist detail that looks like the a city skyline.

Benoit Tessier / REUTERS/Benoit Tessier / REUTERS

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Rolland tends to favour dresses that that make waves as a woman walks. But dramatic fashion does not mean sails of fabric that be raised like wings. On the plus side, they are not covered in feathers.

Benoit Tessier / REUTERS/Benoit Tessier / REUTERS

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The Stephane Rolland finale is always intended to be a big moment. I wish I could tell you why this dress needed bodyguards (there were no press notes) but the model was walking verrrrry sloooowly. For an alien film villain, it’s a perfect choice.

Jacques Brinon / AP/Jacques Brinon / AP

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Alexandre Vauthier typically projects a futuristic vision onto his haute couture collections. This time, he went a little softer, with fur shoulder accents and sherbet shades.

Gonzalo Fuentes / REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes / REUTERS

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