ARGUABLY the couture schedule saves the best until last: Valentino. This is the show that has the swoon factor and such is the stamp of design duo Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri that they can now turn their hand to anything. Any theme, any inspiration, any idea can now so seamlessly be seen through a Valentino lens to make a collection entirely "theirs" but with an added layer of newness. You're never going to come away from a Valentino show disappointed.
This evening that layer of newness came by way of alchemy, its ingredients wonderful texture and fabric combinations of velvet and tapestry patchwork; muses Mariano Fortuny, Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham; dance lightness; medieval maidens; that signature fairytale fluidity.
Last season the pair had a minor hiatus and showed the couture collection in their beloved Rome, but Rome was definitely back in Paris today. Sublimely worked in velvet and pleats, the collection never felt heavy - cloaks gliding like a dream as they passed on by. These are the sorts of pieces that the mind struggles even to keep up with just how exquisite they are - what would your dream dress be? Valentino has every possible answer covered - those delicate variations between each creation another way to define "pretty".
But what's clever here is that this couture that isn't out of reach - in so much as you look at it and do dream and want, where other brands leave you feeling cold (granted we're not talking price tag). And all of what you see translates - you see it in the ready-to-wear collections too: another tier of that dreamy world.
Testament always to a fashion house is how many of the audience are dressed in said label: here you couldn't cast a glance without being met by a past season offering.