Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli have developed into couture’s most unabashed romantics in what they create and present on the catwalk each season.

For the Valentino www.valentino.com  collection they showed, their starting point was opera and as such this collection was influenced by it. The point of this collection was uniqueness as much as fantasy melded with a touch of sophisticated whimsy to create a flowing tribute to opera.

They opened with a literal nod to this theme with  a tulle gown, its skirt embroidered with a section of the “La Traviata” score. This set the tone for what was to come but also that it would not influence the entire collection as the designers moved onto other looks that were also no doubt inspired by opera…this first piece merely set the scene and then allowed for individual designs to speak for themselves.

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In line with their platform of individuality and difference for each outfit, the duo showed a variety of shapes — flowing ballgowns, a golden lace caftan,  and a thicker blue-and-brown lace sheath.  Such distinctive pieces didn’t negate significant operatic themes. This accounted for the ballerinas wrapped in swanlike feathers and then the jungle theme that harked back to Verdi and Ponchielli with imagery of cheetahs and lions.

This collection offered something for everyone with some stunning cashmere coats to the more simpler dresses that revealed lush scooping in the back when the models turned around for those not wanting over embellished or complex designs in their couture.

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This was a full on collection that featured many different elements that worked to appeal to most everyone, you would be hard pressed to find an outfit here that you did not love!

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A stunning collection from the house of Valentino!

By contrast to Valentino, Jean Paul Gaultier www.johnpaulgaultier.com  treated his audience to a theatrical spectacle of his own, when most fashion houses are not doing theatrical shows anymore and allowing the clothes to speak for themselves, but Gaultier has always had his own mind about how he wants to present his collections and he did not disappoint. This was cabaret-tinged show and was a real  delight, and was one of his most light hearted and fetching collections for many seasons.

Butterflies were the main motif, dictating  the winglike shoulders and the wonderful array of iridescent insect colours that have alighted a number of the collections this week.

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Gaultier opened with a black cocktail suit, the satin gathered at the midriff and foreshadowing an array of imaginative butterfly effects. He  did occasionally stray from the theme to parade house standards, that we all expect from him, like the jean jacket, here a denim vest paved in spiky crystals, and the sailor sweater, done in the guise of a ruffled, off-the-shoulder top.

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Jean Paul Gaultier Couture

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Stunning for start to finish…can anyone see Kylie in some of these for the next concert tour!

This was a whimsical, wondrous collection and  Gaultier took hundreds of meters of tulle, twisted into the thickness of cord, and wove the strands into a web.  As the parade continued the clothes became more decorated as Gaultier’s social butterflies morphed into full-on showgirls in flapper dresses swinging with chains and pearls, towering with dramatic feathered headpieces. He even employed artiste Dita Von Tesse to parade in a specially designed butterfly corset that grew gasps from the assembled audience.

It was a divine showing!