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TWIST AND SHOUT: Luxury variations on the hooded sweatshirt, the djellaba and even the common rugby shirt — transformed into a drop-waist silk gown — are among some of the quirky inspirations at play in Alexis Mabille’s debut couture collection. The show, to be held at the Angelina tearoom on Jan. 24, will open with the designer’s silk organza bow tie coat modeled by Calixta Biron von Curland, a soprano cantatrice from Weimar, Germany. Unisex pieces from the designer’s ready-to-wear line also will be presented. “There’s a young dynamic to the collection,” Mabille said. “It’s almost bourgeois in essence, but I like to play with lengths and proportions to give it a twist.”


SOMETHING SPARKLY: And the bride will wear — crystal. John Galliano, Giorgio Armani, Vera Wang and Christopher Kane are among more than 100 designers participating in a fantasy bridal exhibition organized by Swarovski during couture week. The crystal-charged event, to be held at the Hotel de la Monnaie on Thursday and Friday, will feature a tableau of crystal creations by artists from a wide range of domains, from floristry to interior design and not forgetting fashion. The pieces also have been photographed for a coffee-table book.


SILVER STREAK: In 1689, Louis XIV found himself short on cash and was obliged to melt down his vast collection of silver furniture that decorated the state apartments of Versailles. An exhibition, organized by interior guru Jacques Garcia and running through March 9, re-creates the splendor with replica furniture on loan from the likes of Denmark’s Rosenborg Castle, England’s WindsorCastle, the Kremlin and Dresden castle, among others. Included in the 200 pieces on display are human-size candlesticks and elaborate chandeliers.

Caption: The Versailles exhibition.


ELEVATED TASTES: Alain Ducasse has taken over Jules Verne, the restaurant found 1,024 feet up the EiffelTower. The remodeled space, which reopened just before Christmas, boasts breathtaking views and masterful, classic dishes such as lobster with truffle and celery remoulade or beef filet with foie gras. The lunch menu starts at 75 euros, or $110, while dinner starts at 190 euros, or $280. Meanwhile, the French chef is active overseas: His New York Adour Alain Ducasse restaurant opens this month, along with a replica of his Paris Benoit this spring.


THE NEW GUY: “We wanted to show during the couture because Laroche is couture in spirit,” said designer Marcel Marongiu about his first collection for Guy Laroche, slated to be shown Monday. “It means we will be able to deliver early, too,” he added. For his debut, Marongiu, 45, said he wanted to distill the essence of Laroche’s style rather than quote from archival dresses. “He was a very affirmative designer, who was interested in seduction and being pragmatic,” Marongiu said, noting that those precepts led him to “concentrate on the basics” and to offer a largely monochromatic collection of sinuous dresses and skirt suits. Among his main messages will be a strong shoulder à la the Forties and nipped hourglass waists. Marongiu joined Laroche, which is owned by China’s YGM Trading, in November.


MORE MOORE: The exhibition “Henry Moore and Mythology” at the Musée Bourdelle shows how the artist was inspired by ancient myths and Greek art. His “Warrior With Shield” sculpture is reminiscent of friezes from the Parthenon, for instance, while the “Three Standing Figures” sculpture hearkens back to the “Three Graces.” The show is a multimedia extravaganza, culling 120 works by Moore, ranging from massive to tiny sculptures, drawings and sketches. Both inside and outside of the museum, his pieces are juxtaposed with those by the artist Antoine Bourdelle, echoing similar subject matter.

Musée Bourdelle, 18 Rue Antoine-Bourdelle, 75015; +33-1-4954-7373


INN CROWD: Not far from Rue Saint-Honoré fashion shops and the Louvre museum, the new Lumen hotel is a dream location. Its 32 rooms and two suites feature marble bathrooms and the latest high-tech accoutrements. French designer Claudio Colucci decorated the rooms in gray tones with neoclassic furniture. Most rooms boast a balcony overlooking the Saint-Roch church’s dome and Paris rooftops. Room prices start at 240 euros, or $350, and run to 800 euros, or $1,180, for a suite.

Hotel Lumen, 15 Rue des Pyramides, 75001; +33-1-4450-7708


SWEET CHARM: French pastry chef Philippe Conticini just opened a handkerchief-size macaroon shop called Exceptions Gourmandes. He also offers several types of delicious candies, like chocolate nougat or soft apricot nougat; a large variety of cookies, and mouth-watering lollipops made with coconut and raspberries with a chocolate shell.

Exceptions Gourmandes, 4 Place du Marché Saint Catherine, 75004; +33-1-4277-1650


SPORTS COUTURE: Coach Me is shaping up Parisians with made-to-measure methods, offering personalized Pilates, yoga, modern jazz and cardio lessons by private coaches who cater to clients’ schedules and fitness levels. The co-founder is Isabelle Paradiso, who left her position as director of travel retail in Europe for Yves Saint Laurent Beauté to set up her new exercise concept. Keeping its Parisian allure, Coach Me is situated in a remodeled Haussmanian apartment with wood-paneled floors, mirrored fireplaces and a series of private rooms for each sports activity. Prices start at 80 euros, or $120, for a session. Physical therapists and nutritionists are also on hand at the club.

Coach Me, 15 Avenue Carnot, 75017; +33-1-4574-6199


ARABIAN NIGHTS: Acclaimed Belgian chef Ghislaine Arabian is back with a new restaurant called Les Petites Sorcières. In her 32-seat eatery, Arabian offers a tasty and savory cuisine in a minimalist-chic decor, including signature dishes such as cod fish in beer and Belgian waffles with vanilla ice cream, as well as a mille-feuille with layers of cooked and raw vegetables, shrimp croquettes and pistachio pastry. Average price for dinner runs around 60 euros, or $89, per person.

Les Petites Sorcières, 12 Rue de Liancourt, 75014; +33-1-4321-9568


HIGH TIME: She first stirred interest as a rtw designer crashing the couture calendar in 2001. But this time around, Anne Valérie Hash will mark her debut as an official member of the high-fashion club, and the youngest designer, at 36, to carry the appellation. Hash has chosen to create a collection made entirely out of tulle. “The idea is that each dress will weigh no more than 3 grams,” she said. “The work should be invisible — it’s part of the mystery of couture. Around 200 hours will have been spent on each piece.”


FUR SURE: Esoteric designer Gustavo Lins has conceived a new collection for the French fur producer Terzakou. Dubbed T.Paris, the line will make its debut during the designer’s catwalk show here today. Lins employed draping and spiral effects, and certain styles are also reversible or adjustable, such as one brown fox-fur coat with sleeves that can be rolled to the shoulder. Retail prices range from $3,000 to $14,000. During the show, certain coats will come with ribbon-like porcelain collars, experimental showpieces that Lins hopes to develop into an accessories line.


EYE SPY: There’s plenty in Paris to feast the eyes on during couture week, starting with an exhibition at Hotel de Ville feting the centennial of color photography — with Paris as the focus, from Gisèle Freund’s engaging portraits of Jean-Paul Sartre and Samuel Beckett to celebrated Vogue photographs by Henry Clark, William Klein, Paolo Roversi and Peter Lindbergh. Christian Lacroix has been flexing his interior design muscles for the refurbishment of the former apartment of Jacques Caru, the architect of the Palais de Chaillot during the Thirties. On show at the museum, Lacroix’s colorful new take on the space works an eclectic mix of Baroque fixtures and whimsical hues, as well as decorative objects from the designer’s personal collection. Le Bon Marché has 160 snaps of Andy Warhol and entourage by the celebrated paparazzo Ron Galella. And it’s the last chance to see Korean artist Lee Bul’s stunning crystal and aluminum works at the Fondation Cartier.


SIP AND SNIP: Offering night owls the finest of both blossoms and beverages, Bar Fleur’s proposes Champagne or vodka cocktails infused with floral essences such as the Kir Violette and exotic arrangements of freshly cut flowers. The young concept bar has already been visited by the likes of French singer Zazie, and the monthly art exhibits by local artists and owner Alexandre’s pet parrot further enrich the fragrant setting and drinks. Polly want a cocktail?

Bar Fleur’s, 3 Rue des Tournelles, 75004; +33-1-4271-0451


LOVE LETTERS: Couturier Franck Sorbier has designed new heart-shaped French stamps, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Both feature trees and lyrical faces shaped into hearts, echoing Sorbier’s creations. The collectible stamps come in two sizes and, at under 1 euro each, make for quite a reasonable piece of couture.


FRANKLY SPEAKING: In case you missed the traveling exhibition about Benjamin Franklin on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of his birth, it’s making its last stop in Paris, spread across the Musée des Arts et Métiers and the Musée Carnavalet. Running through March 30, the show covers his Boston childhood, his business ventures, his life abroad and various remembrances of the statesman.


WICKED FUN: Take a candle and a shaker, and you get the Amira bar and shop. Owner Dominique Granger sells candles and candle jars made in Morocco by day, and then transforms the place into a lounge, serving fragrant cocktails such as Wild Roses, Wang Wang or Almond Cream. Nearby, on Rue de Charonne, is another groovy bar housed in a former typewriter repair shop with many of the old machines on display. After mojitos or wine, customers can hit the Selen restaurant next door for a meal of frog legs, snails, foie gras or duck filet for 17.90 euros, or $26.

Amira, 10 Rue de Lappe, 75011; +33-1-55-2895-9695

La Machine à Ecrire, 80 Rue de Charonne, 75011; +33-1-4367-3829


— Chantal Goupil, Katya Foreman, Robert Murphy, Allison Bailey, Kate Thornton and Timothy Edmond

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