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Never underestimate the power of panties. A dizzying river of VIPS including Hilary Swank packed on to the covered swimming pool of the Ritz hotel in Paris Monday night for a preview of the Natalia for Etam lingerie and swimwear line designed by Natalia Vodianova.

“I like Fifties style bathing suits,” said Mélanie Laurent. “As for my favorite underwear — do socks count? I like them thick and comfy.”

This story first appeared in the January 28, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Alexa Chung confessed she’s more of a “granny pants” kind of girl. “Strings don’t do it for me,” she said.

Elsewhere at the affair, Lou Lesage discussed the fall accessories shoot she just wrapped for Louis Vuitton’s catalogue, and Eva Herzigova said she’d spent the day putting the final touches on her clothing line for Etam-owned fashion chain 1.2.3, which will be presented during Paris Fashion Week. “Among my favorite looks is a white suit that’s very Seventies Bianca Jagger,” she said. Mark Ronson, who’s working on Duran Duran’s new album, was in town to DJ the after party next door at the Hôtel d’Evreux.

But before partygoers headed to that bash, they were treated to a live performance by Charlotte Gainsbourg, who sang three songs from her latest album, “IRM.”

She even demonstrated her drumming skills on one track. Swank’s verdict? “Wonderful!” she hollered.

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