- Associated Press - Thursday, January 23, 2014

PARIS (AP) - Paris’ frenetic spring-summer couture week wrapped up Thursday with displays mixing one of Jennifer Lopez’s favorite red-carpet designers Zuhair Murad with other promising up-and-coming names.

Meanwhile, Christie’s sold off a collection of objects belonging to the late, great couturier Elsa Schiaparelli for an incredible €1,690,000 ($2.3 million), provided by her granddaughter, actress Marisa Berenson. The sale had animal rights groups complaining for including a monkey fur cape, which didn’t end up selling and comes a few days after a prominent fashionista was criticized for wearing gorilla fur.

Here are the day’s highlights:

IS ZUHAIR MURAD THE NEW ELIE SAAB?

He’s Lebanese, shows couture in Paris and has a list of faithful, celebrity clients including Lopez, Taylor Swift and Kristen Stewart that love his sparkling gowns.

But it’s not Elie Saab. It’s Zuhair Murad.

Despite the constant comparisons with Lebanon’s most established designer, the 42-year-old up-and-comer fortunately does not seem to mind.

“Why not? I love his work. He’s a very good couturier,” Beirut-based Murad told The Associated Press.

“But talent or style isn’t to do with the country you come from. Each one of us has our own separate vision.”

And Murad’s fashion vision seems to be working, at least if awards ceremonies’ red carpets are anything to go by.

He designed Lopez’s white illusion-lace mermaid gown for last year’s Golden Globes, and her Oscars gown the year before that had alternating stripes of sheer and metallic fabric.

THE GARDEN OF MURAD

To the backdrop of a luscious Garden of Eden, models sported waists cinched from belts made of golden leaves in Murad’s spring-summer 2014 show.

The pure alabaster white, symbolic of pre-Fall innocence, mixed with colors the program notes describe as a “cornucopia of camellias, roses, sweetbriar laurels, and… heavenly plumage.”

Like Saab, Murad’s cuts clasp the natural high waist of the female silhouette, often on full skirts. Features such as peplums and silk swags emphasized feminine curves.

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