- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 24, 2012

PARIS (AP) - On day two of Paris’s frantic three days of haute couture collections, Chanel took the fashion crowd to the skies and highlights included super-sexy, celebrity-filled Armani Prive.

Tuesday’s haute couture shows felt more flashy than in previous seasons _ perhaps owing to confidence after some fashion houses revealed rising sales figures during last year.

The Giorgio Armani Prive show was a glitzy affair and judging by its profits, it can afford to be: sales rose 50 percent in 2011 despite the sluggish economy.

Sitting on the front row of the Italian designer’s show, US Vogue Editor Anna Wintour quipped: “Doesn’t couture always buck the trend?”

French mega-brand Chanel would certainly agree, billing its own couture show as the biggest spectacle yet. Inside a reconstructed jumbo jet, guests _ including many from Asia _ were treated to a showy presentation.

Another of the day’s big collections came from Givenchy, direct from the universe of its imaginative designer Riccardo Tisci, who led revellers around a curious and luxurious exhibition-like collection.

Under Tisci, the French brand has also seen success in the past 12 months, reporting year on year profits of 5 percent.

Haute couture is an artisan-based method of making clothes that dates back over 150 years. The garments, shown in collections in Paris twice a year, are bought by a core group of no more than 100 rich women around the world. Creations range in price from euro15,000 to over euro100,000 for wedding dresses.

CHANEL

It was blue-sky thinking for Karl Lagerfeld, as he treated guests to a jet-set experience in Chanel’s spring-summer collection.

The wet Paris morning failed to dampen the mood outside the imperial Grand Palais, as guests waited excitedly to see the inside theme _ always a closely-guarded secret. The “Cocos” _ as one fashionista called Chanel followers _ were led nervously down a space-age passage.

There were gasps as they reached the catwalk: a life-size jumbo-jet reconstructed complete with luggage lockers, walkways and even a Champagne trolley.

On the runway, signature Chanel skirt-suits were given a retro flight attendant makeover with wide bateau collars in pastel colors.

It was as if stiff-suited Karl Lagerfeld had finally decided to relax into the flight as soft, floaty floor-length silhouettes replaced last season’s more fitted, shorter and architectural look.

Speaking backstage in the reconstructed cockpit, Lagerfeld said that blue was used because it’s an optimistic color.

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