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Practical luxury at French label Chanel

PARIS – Practical chic was the name of the game Tuesday at Chanel, which delivered classic suits embellished with snap-on cuffs and collars that can be removed to dress the looks down.

Jade green and baby girl pink added a welcome touch of color to the black looks and infused the French label's hallmark tweed jackets with an optimistic freshness.

The jackets — some cropped, some shimmering with intricate beadwork — were paired with short pencil skirts, A-line dresses, cuffed trousers and long, flowing chiffon skirts.

Accessories, like belts, flattop full-brimmed hats, chunky rings and knit arm and leg warmers, figured prominently in the winter 2010 ready-to-wear collection.

But the real stars of the show were the extravagant collars and cuffs. Made from accordion pleats, starchy lace, feathers and papery white flowers and adorned with contrasting black ribbons, they attached to the looks with a simple snap, said designer Karl Lagerfeld.

"It's a kind of new jewelry," he told The Associated Press in a post-show interview. "With one dress, you can have two lives, a business life and then you can add all those things" for a dressier look.

Removing them also cuts down on the need for — and cost of — dry-cleaning, he said.

Practicality was also behind a handbag made of clear hard plastic, with special compartments for the essentials: the cell phone, sunglasses and, of course, the oversized bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume.

"Nothing is worse than the poor girls when they are there like they are looking in a garbage can trying to find their Blackberry," Lagerfeld said, adding that the bag, which sports Chanel's hallmark chain and leather strap, was also aimed at easing air travel by making clearing security a breeze.

"Slumdog Millionaire" star Freida Pinto called the show "wonderful."

Chanel "is never a letdown, it's always up there," said Pinto, who looked radiant in a white tweed dress by the label.

Asked whether her sudden status as a global superstar had changed her style, the Mumbai, India native replied, "All I can say is that I've cleaned up pretty well."

Other front row guests at the mammoth show — held beneath the steel and glass dome of Paris' Grand Palais — included models Kate Moss and Milla Jovovich and British singer Lily Allen.