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Amy Verner reports from the catwalks of Paris Fashion Week

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After mining the sea and the earth’s geologic core for inspiration the previous two seasons, Karl Lagerfeld turned to air for his Spring 2013 collection. Within the Grand Palais, giant wind turbines and a runway that resembled solar panels set the stage for a look that felt coastal and cool.

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At Chanel, black is not a trend; it’s the essence of the label. This season, Lagerfeld revisited classics with precise detailing, such as the leather trim on this classic tailleur (suit).

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Imagine having to think up new interpretations of the iconic Chanel 2.55 quilted bag each season. So perhaps it was only a matter of time before one appeared to be anchored between two hula-hoops. Of course, much smaller versions will end up in stores.

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Lagerfeld is at his best when he keeps things graphic rather than eccentric. Cropped Spencer-style jackets were a fresh silhouette update, even if they may prove challenging for some Chanel customers.

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It’s never too early to get them started on Chanel. Jennifer Lopez brought daughter Emme to the show.

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You get the sense when looking at the Valentino dresses that co-designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli have a sincere interest in what has defined clothing as “feminine” over time. And then they rethink what that means today. Certainly, it’s always very proper, conveying sexiness in unexpected ways.

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Another example: a trench coat that simultaneously protects against the rain and reveals what’s underneath.

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Or here, where a white collar and cuffs act as a crisp counterpoint to the delicate lace.

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The designers defined this collection as “Memory without nostalgia.” Whatever that means, the hand-painted flowers on white lace were a painstaking play on all the season’s ubiquitous prints.

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The designers believe there’s nothing demure about a dress that conceals the body.

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Lopez, who also attended the Valentino show, might be coming to this same conclusion. Meanwhile, beau Casper Smart may be wondering why there’s not more skin...

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Paul & Joe’s Sophie Albou label typically captures a gamine French spirit with contemporary polish. For this collection, she looked to Hawaii, where vivid colours and patterns will make for yet another highly commercial collection.

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Two other elements that inevitably sell well: a sparkly dress and a denim topper. This season, her version of the latter was a soft chambray that more closely resembled a parka.

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But the strongest look in the collection also happened to be the simplest: A sporty, sexy jersey dress ringed with a simple black band near the hemline.

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Sarah Burton dedicated her spring collection to bees. And wow, did she ever play up all the creative possibilities: the hexagonal motif, the ominous beekeeper-inspired headgear, the accessories that were a trompe l’oeil for crystallized honey. And of course… the wasp waists.

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Vargas girls with their pinup figures also factored into a collection that went superbly over-the-top with thematic detail.

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Voluminous dresses, made ever so slightly erotic by the caged bodices, suggested flowers in mutant bloom – pollinated by none other than Burton, naturally.

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