Valentino and Dior now set the design agenda for haute couture, each headed by one of the duo who used to work together at Valentino. Pierpaolo Piccioli’s pure lines and simplicity (even embroidery is veiled) for Valentino attract a younger, more laid-back wealth, while Maria Grazia Chiuri works Dior’s historic codes to modern effect – de-structured evening dresses and softly cool, monochrome tailoring for day with pleats for movement.
Daywear is the surprise couture revival, from Chanel’s ultra-femme, rounded-hip tweeds to Schiaparelli’s appliquéd suits and Giambattista Valli’s precision-fold 1960s tunics with trousers, plus long day dress – pleated at Valentino, colour blocked at Schiaparelli.
The big dress and 1980s style rule evenings - wide skirts at Chanel, wider at Valli, ethnic at Jean-Paul Gaultier and Armani Privé. Zuhair Murad goes shiny 1980s; Alexandre Vauthier picks the high-octane version.
More subtly, Viktor and Rolf and Martin Margiela patch and restructure vintage fabrics, while feather-work is the hot craft, from Chanel’s bright puffs framing silver sequins to shaded lime green with delicate crystal knot-work at Atelier Versace, whose handcraft is up there with the best.