Samsung focuses on fashion with latest special edition smartphones

Samsung has joined forces with French luxury shoe designers Free Lance and Jean-Baptiste Rautureau to bring a haute couture twist to its already fashionable and stylish Galaxy Alpha smartphone handsets.

The Galaxy Alpha is the first smartphone in Samsung's history to dump the plastic feel for premium alloys and now it's also become the first phone to get a specially designed leather back panel in a choice of four styles and colors -- two aimed at fashion-focused female owners and two at stylish men.

Women get the choice of a textured Bordeaux red or Teal blue shell complete with embroidered flower detail courtesy of Free Lance designer Guy Rautureau.

For men, two similarly textured but slightly more Spartan Jean-Baptiste Rautureau designs in brown and grey are available.

However, no matter which design is chosen, the leather shell will be handmade and individually numbered -- only 100 examples of each design are being produced -- and the completed phone will come with a certificate of authenticity signed in person by the designer.

The limited edition cases only add a further €80 to the standard handset's €570 price, meaning that the only catch is that they're exclusively for French customers and can only be bought from Samsung France. But c'est la vie.