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Fashion secrets stroll Paris catwalks

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Hollywood's favorite Lebanese designer, Elie Saab, has delivered a sweet and sexy spring-summer 2010 haute couture collection of heavily beaded slip gowns in muted pastel tones. We also head out to several other Paris shows to unveil new fashion secrets for the coming seasons.

Elie Saab spring-summer 2010 haute couture collection

 Elie Saab spring-summer 2010 haute couture collection

It was a slimmer silhouette than usual for Elie Saab, whose full-skirted princess gowns have helped make him a perennial red carpet favorite. Dresses composed of delicate, transparent layers of lace and chiffon were cut oh so close to the body, and covered with elaborate beadwork.

At the end of the program, held at a theater in the French capital's stately 16th District, the mirrored catwalk was littered with fallen beads, tubes, and chiffon scraps.

Bias-cut spaghetti strap gowns ended in long swishes just above the knees, while a series of draped bustier dresses featured skirts with bold slits that nearly reached the model's prominent hip bones.

While pretty, the collection gave off a bit of a deja vu feeling, with little to distinguish it from the stylings on other catwalks in the city, and beyond.

Beirut native Basil Soda once worked under Elie Saab, and it's easy to see the imprint the Hollywood mainstay left on his work. Like his mentor, Soda also turns out ravishing red carpet-ready evening wear, heavily fortified with fancy beadwork.

But at Wednesday's spring-summer collection shown in Paris, his outfits sported a hard, rock-princess edge.

Some of the looks, radiating peaked shoulders, gold chain fringes, and little razor-shaped metal appliques, came across as something Balmain would do if the host-city-based label ever took hemlines down below the upper thigh.

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