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German army bans tongue piercings, porn tattoos

Germany's military has a new dress code, published online Wednesday and to take effect next month, that gives the boot to visible body piercings, bushy beards and pornographic tattoos. The Bundeswehr's first update to the regulations in years dedicates a new section to "body modifications", also including implants, brandings, decorative scars and piercings inside the mouth cavity.

Coach sales in N. America plummet as market share erodes

By Phil Wahba (Reuters) - Coach Inc's <COH.N> sales in North America fell sharply during the key holiday quarter as the handbag maker continued to lose customers to fast-growing rivals. The New York company, known for its Poppy handbags, on Wednesday reported a 13.6 percent decrease in comparable-store sales in North America. It was the third straight quarter of decline in a market that accounts for 70 percent of its revenue, and a much deeper drop for the holiday quarter than Coach forecast in October.

Sneakers underpin Chanel's breezy couture creations

Chanel on Tuesday opted for a relaxed, airy look for its Spring-Summer 2014 haute couture collection, sending its models down the Paris catwalk wearing breezy pastels and tennis shoes. The mood was in stark contrast to its Fall-Winter show last July, whose set evoked a bombed-out theatre. Head designer Karl Lagerfeld said Tuesday's bright white decor was meant to suggest a "nightclub in another galaxy".

Chanel models in sorbet pink skip down stairs at Paris fashion show

By Alexandria Sage PARIS (Reuters) - While most other fashion designers may settle for the usual trappings of their business - a dark room, straight runway and phalanx of bored-looking models - Karl Lagerfeld likes to have fun. For Chanel's haute couture collection in Paris on Tuesday, creative director Lagerfeld presented no less than an orchestra, a revolving stage, two curving staircases and over 60 suits and dresses in sorbet shades for Spring/Summer 2014.

Gothic warriors or rainbows? Men's fashion gets eclectic in Paris

From Rick Owens' darkly-clad snarling warriors to models covered in Issey Miyake's psychedelic twisted rainbows, menswear took an eclectic turn on Paris runways Thursday. Keeping it classic, French fashion house Louis Vuitton took lovers of the luxury brand to South America with coloured striped scarves and wool jackets unveiled as US actor Will Smith and British singer Lily Allen looked on. Shiny silver or tartan blue bags and uber-luxurious sweaters also made their way down a runway of swirling water-like patterns which also covered the walls.

Fashion goes wild in Issey Miyake menswear show

From volcanoes erupting in a myriad of colours to the shimmering northern lights, Issey Miyake brought nature at its wildest to Paris on Wednesday in the latest menswear line from the avant-garde Japanese house. Inspired by a recent trip to Iceland, menswear designer Yusuke Takahashi combined elegance with eccentricity in a nature-inspired collection unveiled under industrial spotlights at the house's flagship Paris address on the historic Place des Vosges.

Hermes designer Nichanian: a woman in a man's world

Frenchwoman Veronique Nichanian, the artistic director for Hermes, stands out in the fashion world as one of the only women to create men's styles. That she has been doing it for 26 years is another rarity. "I always feel the same anxiety," she admitted ahead of her catwalk show Saturday in Paris. "But the enthusiasm is always solid," she told AFP with a smile. She says Hermes's then boss Jean-Louis Dumas told her when he tapped her in 1988: "Manage this like your little enterprise. You have carte blanche."

Fitbit offering refunds, replacements for Force wristbands after skin irritation complaints

Fitbit is offering to replace or refund its $130 Force fitness wristbands following reports of skin irritation from some users. The company says a "limited number" of users have reported skin problems. It says that may be from an allergy to the nickel used in the Force. The Force, which was released in October, can track steps taken, stairs climbed and calories burned. FitBit also makes other fitness wristbands and devices. One online company forum began showing user complaints in mid-December and has grown to more than 30 pages.

Carven, Von Beirendonck kick off men's fashion in Paris

Carven offered a new twist on classic suits and the iconoclast designer Walter Von Beirendonck unveiled in-your-face stripes Wednesday at the start of the men's fashion shows in Paris. Carven designer Guillaume Henry set a scene of prewar Chicago as his models sauntered around two pool tables. Describing his look as "twisted", Henry said he deliberately mismatched the outfits, teaming a casual jacket with formal trousers.

Paris fashion week kicks off with menswear

After London and Milan, men's fashion hits Parisian runways Wednesday, with some 50 shows planned as more and more European and Asian houses battle to get a slot amid rising interest in this section of the market. Kickstarting Paris fashion week before bowing out on Sunday to make way for haute couture, houses such as Kenzo and Hermes will showcase their collections for men, an increasing number of whom no longer buy clothes when they need to but when they want to.
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