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Saab and Valentino dazzle their fans in Paris

January 25, 2006
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With the Academy Awards fast approaching, fashion fans on both sides of the pond have been taking a keen interest in the glamorous gowns on show at Paris Fashion Week. And the final collection of this year's event was also among its most hotly anticipated, as Lebanese maestro Elie Saab has been a favourite with Hollywood's leading ladies ever since he designed the dress Halle Berry wore to collect her best actress gong in 2002.

The style guru was on form once again at the Ecole des Beaux Arts on Wednesday with a delicate, feminine collection that delighted devotees. Pastel colours and floral prints were a common feature, with models showing off a series of slinky off-the-shoulder numbers in silk satin and chiffon.

Variety was the order of the day, however, as the man of the moment employed a dizzying array of cuts and styles to prove there's more than one way to create a slinky silhouette. Swarovsky crystals and gold lace detailing topped fluted skirts and tulle petticoats in a diverse line-up in which the only constant was elegance.

Valentino meanwhile delivered refined glamour with a line of evening gowns that combines sophistication with Tinseltown glitz. The Italian courtier's philosophy was perfectly summed up in a ruffled cocoa-coloured dress with a delicate sequinned floral motif.

Followers of the fashion industry's enfant terrible, Jean-Paul Gaultier, were not surprised to see the Frenchman sending rather bolder statements down the catwalk than most of his peers. The designer's old friend Madonna was in the front row for his collection, which combined Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences with the cheeky personal touch the former Eurotrash presenter is famous for.

Billowing harem pants and pleated halterneck gowns in turquoise and ochre were typical of the creator's playful approach. There were also more sensual designs, though, such as the complex dark brown satin number with transparent bodice.

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Photo: ©
A delicate combination of pastel colours and floaty fabrics from red carpet maestro Elie SaabPhoto: © AFPy
Photo: ©
Valentino combined elegance, sophistication and glamour as only he canPhoto: © AFP

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