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TREE HOUSES: It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Paris, with local radio host and TV presenter Stéphane Bern leading the annual ceremony to switch on the lights on Avenue Montaigne.

The electric moment, held in front of the Nina Ricci store on Tuesday night, served as an appetizer to the 23rd annual Sapins de Noël charity benefit at the nearby Hôtel Plaza Athénée, hosted by Parisian fashion journalist Marie-Christiane Marek.

Twenty-eight houses, including Chanel, Dior, Olivier Theyskens and Elie Saab, entered creative Christmas trees to be auctioned off on the night in aid of cancer research, followed by a dinner at the Maison Blanche restaurant.

On a playful note, India Mahdavi for her lot presented a carved wooden toucan with a red knitted scarf tied at the neck.

Chantal Thomass also wanted to break from tradition. “It’s not a tree, I’ve been doing trees for the past 22 years; I designed an object, a screen that lights up with printed fabrics,” said the black-bobbed lingerie designer, who has just released a furniture collection with Maisons du Monde.

But Chanel’s entry — an abstract gray and red sculpture evoking a volcano, with an illuminated red cavity lit by a double-C lightbulb — created the most heat, generating 9,000 euros. Jean Paul Gaultier’s supersized, illuminated Eiffel Tower-themed creation came second, going for 8,200 euros, with a total of 89,000 euros raised on the night.

The festive event was held under the patronage of Pascal Morand, executive president of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode.

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