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Madame Butterfly

By Timothy Hagy

PARIS, January 24 - Stéphane Saunier is a dashing young designer with a physique that strongly resembles San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom. Instead of promoting same-sex marriages, however, he's by all accounts a major league aficionado of unisex butterflies. The diurnal insects flew in sequined splendor onto the backs of evening gowns, lighted on the tops of pantsuits, even fluttered into diaphanous chiffon trains. A split-wing version metamorphosed into a cape, and mounds of mousseline burst from a cocoon wrap to form a wedding dress.

Elsewhere, how many different ways can you build a pantsuit? You could add caterpillar-green appliqué, you could dust moth-colored ostrich plumes atop a top, you could stitch in dangling embroidery, or you could pipe chiffon down the back. In the end, your wings might still get clipped.

Ivana Trump sat front row in the Salon Impérial of the Hôtel Intercontinental at the noontime presentation on Monday, attired in a burgundy pantsuit with matching fur trim. Snuggling close to her smoldering escort, she knew what she was looking for. "Lots of wearable things," she said, before the show began.

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