During a time when haute couture's signature elements - painstakingly high craftsmanship, deeply felt aspiration, and fantasy - are less apparent on the runway, it becomes increasingly more important to applaud the houses that grasp the art's elusive new niche. That being unique, magical and made by hand, yet perfectly aligned with what today's most-fabulous women want to wear. For SS16 Couture, these looks came from houses that include Valentino, Chanel, and Giambattista Valli:
Giambattista Valli's signature exaggerated forms were brought to life with bold floral embroidery this season, while at Chanel Karl Lagerfeld kept things fresh, shiny and light as he introduced elements of gold and sparkle as his accents of choice.
At Elie Saab, the designer took a new direction for spring, quite literally. With India as his point of reference the collection was more relaxed, with looser styles and sun-faded prints.
Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccoli's floor-sweeping gowns displayed a similar relaxed feel at Valentino, with models walking the catwalk barefoot through a carpet of petals.
Peacock feather and floral appliqué transformed these delicate pieces at Valentino and Schiaparelli, while at Stephane Rolland a darker, more dramatic story unfolded in the form of fluid shapes with origami effects.
Darker looks also made an appearance at Valentino, where the house's Mariano Fortuny-inspired collection included their famous treated velvets burnished with gold impressions and adorned with gilt accessories.