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“Baby, it’s cold outside,” Ray Charles famously crooned — and boy, he’s never been more right.

But parties don’t pause for a frosty snap, leaving intrepid ladies with a dilemma: how to leave the house without looking like a bundled up snowman? The answer for some has been to spice up their weather-required long sleeves and hemlines with suggestive glimpses of bare skin. Witness Jennifer Connelly’s choice for a Tokyo premiere, a bondage-worthy LBD that was anything but prim and proper, or Sarah Jessica Parker’s cobweblike Balmain frock, which offered sneak peeks of her décolletage through bejeweled netting. Photographer Poppy de Villeneuve opted to bare a mere sliver of shoulder while Vena Cava’s Lisa Mayock donned her own well-ventilated design. And while some revelers are covered up from the neck down, Gwyneth Paltrow threw caution to the winds and exposed (almost) all in a knicker-revealing Antonio Berardi dress. Who needs heat? Global warming indeed.

This story first appeared in the December 29, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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