We had feared that this season, Couture would be pared down, reflecting the belt-tightening pinch everyone is expecting to come. But Dior designer John Galliano was not bowing to that presure as he sent a mesmerising collection of exquisitely tailored and embroidered creations down the catwalk last night. Inspired by painter John Singer Sargent's Madame X, the mythical Greek Chimera and vintage perfume bottles, he crushed fears that the world economy had anything to do with Couture. Well, most people can't afford it anyway.
Duchess satin in canary yellow (pictured), lime green and bubble gum pink, adorned with crystals and huge swags has a symbolist vibe while there was an injection of volume in every silhouette. British Milliner Stephen Jones provided huge flower pot like hats - which anchored many of the looks firmly in the 1960s, while towering wedge heels had a distinct Japanese vibe. Shoes, we're sure Galliano's front row friend Dita Von Teese will approve of.
Giorgio Armani also showed his Armani Prive collection last night, to Hillary Swank and Dita (again!) in the front row. His form fitting pieces, cut with the latest technology to skim the body and exude feminity were a departure from suiting but still a masterclass in tailoring, while his cocktail dresses were far more reminicent of spring/summer 08's airy ruffles and frills. And again, as at Dior, silhouettes had volume in the form of puff hemed dresses and skirts.
Armani also featured some covetable accessories, chunky cuffs, crystal heart necklaces and croc clutches that, come winter, will be an easy way for us all to buy into the Couture look.
The biggest show of the week is still to come, as Wednesday night will see Valentino show his final ever Couture collection and take his last bow on the catwalk ahead of his retirement this week. He has already posed for photographs with every one of his Couture seamstresses as a thank you momento for all their hard work, and More