No doubt couture’s grandeur keeps Paris enthralled. However this week a handful of designers took the opportunity to remind everyone that the real bucks are in ready-to-wear, and not on the runway but in the ever-growing pre-collections. Alber Elbaz was the first clever designer to horn in on the couture schedule, and the Lanvin pre-fall collection he showed on Monday was wonderfully elegant and refined. Elbaz gave spring’s shapely silhouette “a little air,” he explained, “so it always looks like you just lost weight.” Jersey jackets cut with cardigan-like ease and drop-waisted dresses that flared at the hips hinted at a spare, chic look for the season to come. Meanwhile, at Azzaro, Vanessa Seward’s pre-collection gave off a smart Forties vibe with shirtdresses trimmed in metallic piping and a sassy Oscar contender done up at the waist with a crystal bow.