Four days of haute couture shows wrapped up in Paris Thursday with the easy chic of Beatrice Demulder Ferrant contrasting with Zuhair Murad's golden goddesses.
Aiming for clothes that were "practical and elegant, shaped but not stiff", Frenchwoman Demulder Ferrant's collection combined luxury and comfort.
Sky blue and navy damask trousers were teamed with a matching tunic or navy blazer, while a red and black damask skirt slashed to the thigh was worn with matching sleeveless top, long red leather gloves and ankle boots.
Standing out for evening were a backless floor-length dress in grey chiffon accessorised with long silver earrings, and a short purple "twisted" wool dress.
Guest Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad, whose models looked like goddesses in gold laurel hairbands, meanwhile sent out a sumptuous, super feminine collection.
A model presents a creation by French designer Beatrice Demulder Ferrant during the Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2013 collection shows on January 24, 2013 in Paris. Aiming for clothes that were "practical and elegant, shaped but not stiff", Ferrant's collection combined luxury and comfort.
Evening dresses in faded gold, glacier blue, pale green and powdered salmon silk all featured intricate gold embellishments.
Flowing capes and trains completed some of the robes creating dramatic silhouettes.
It is an "honour to be invited by these big names and a responsibility too", Murad told AFP afterwards, referring to the other couture houses. He added that he hoped his guest spot would translate into a sales boost.
Customers were spread around the globe, he said, with many in Russia and a growing number in Asia.
"I think this (Asia) is the future," he said, echoing comments by Christian Dior chief Sidney Toledano who told AFP earlier the house was succeeding in winning new couture customers there.
The "haute couture" label is protected by law in France and awarded on strict criteria such as the amount of work carried out by hand and in-house. The industry caters to no more than 200 of the world's richest women.
Elsewhere bandage dress pioneer Herve Leroux's collection featured long, flowing evening dresses each with a different neck line shaped from tightly pleated silk jersey.
"What is important is that it is a work on the body, it is an obsession I have had for many years," he said.
"I create a fabric and find new lines," he added.
Plenty of big names turned out for the week, including Kevin Costner, Princess Charlene of Monaco, Catherine Deneuve and Kim Kardashian.
A model presents a creation by Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad during the Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2013 collection shows on January 24, 2013 in Paris. It is an "honour to be invited by these big names and a responsibility too", Murad told AFP afterwards, referring to the other couture houses.
Highlights included Christian Dior designer Raf Simons's dreamy silk evening dresses modelled in a garden within a garden at Paris's famous Tuileries.
Jean Paul Gaultier also gave the fashion world plenty to remember with his Rajasthan-inspired collection featuring the embroidery and vibrant colours of the Indian desert state.
And Chinese-born French guest designer Yiqing Yin flew the flag for the avant-garde with a truly original and thought-provoking collection.
Karl Lagerfeld, meanwhile, risked controversy with a finale featuring two female models in wedding dresses accompanied by his four-year-old nephew.
The German couturier said it had been intended as a show of support for gay marriage but added that he was not in favour of men fathering children via surrogates.
"Two mothers seems to me to be better than two fathers. A child without a mother, that's a bit sad," he said.
And he offered words of encouragement for disgraced British designer John Galliano, sacked by Christian Dior and convicted in France last year of anti-Semitism.
He said he hoped he could make a fresh start with the help of fellow designer Oscar de la Renta, who has invited him to work with him.
"He made a mistake," he said. "But you cannot pay forever."