The Valentino designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli stated that the aim of their collection was 'to define the moment using the roots of the past to strive forward and embrace the future'. They are not alone in this: both Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld and Dior's Raf Simons expressed a similar viewpoint earlier this haute couture season. Each treated it in entirely their own way, however.
The particular challenge in this case was to evolve an aesthetic that has by now spawned many a pale imitation such is its success. The brilliance of these designers is that they did just that while never losing sight of the essence of the house they preside over.
And so, signature lace was was gorgeous in gold and looked fresh and new teamed with a chunky camel rib knit. The purity of the silhouette that has put Valentino back on the map - it is almost virginal - developed discreetly too. While still predominantly covered, there was a more obviously sensual feel to dresses gathered to the body by broad ribbons of soft leather and to exposed backs: those knits again which were naked from behind.
Whimsical embellishment from Valentino Couture [Getty]
In a season where the focus has been on volume, cut and proportion over and above whimsical embellishment, Grecian-inspired gowns - draped, pleated and subtly asymmetrical - were apparently the height of simplicity. The way they enfolded the body within was, of course, anything but.
Finally, tuxedo jackets paired with floor length skirts and a coat cut in what looked like a patchwork of antique tapestry had a grace and even majesty to them that was unprecedented.