There are certain collections that can be relied upon to lift the spirits, however downbeat the mood of the moment. Dolce & Gabbana's is always among them and never more so than this season.
Against a wintery woodland backdrop hung with glistening chandeliers and icy white bird cages, and to a soundtrack which opened with The Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy and continued with Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker throughout, Italy's most famous designer pairing delivered a show that was as unashamedly romantic as it was beautiful.
Like storybook heroines - from Little Red Riding Hood to Cinderella and from Snow White lost in the forest to Lara in Dr Zhivago - models stepped out in sweet tailored swing coats appliqued with foxes, squirrels, owls and swans - all with jewelled eyes - and naïve flower embroideries, the most intricate gold jacquard studded with more crystal and ruched chiffon dresses in lovely shades of amethyst and ruby with peasant necklines, puffed sleeves and laced, corsetted waists.
The silhouette predominantly - and loosely - looked at the childlike proportions beloved in the Sixties: think empire and trapeze lines and raised hems. That look is prevalent just now but seemed to carry a more heartfelt longing for optimism and innocence here. Also in line with the spirit of the season were deep, jewel colours, military detail - here frogging morphed into keys, metal embroidered hoods were just one of many heraldic references - and flat but interesting shoes - slippers with pointed toes were as precious as any modern day princess might wish for.
Fashion ephemera aside, at the heart of it all was an opulence and escapism that this house has made its own. From the faded roses making their way across prima ballerina gowns with billowing trains to the signature lace the collection was quintessential Dolce & Gabbana on finest and most magical form. One might even be forgiven for believing, if only for a moment, that we may all live happily ever after.