Georges Chakra S/S 17

The notion that haute couture should be what women dream to wear is always touchy, because it suggests that only the incredibly rich are afforded the chance to achieve their sartorial desires. But there is no doubt that Georges Chakra’s collection of delicate pastel lace and luxuriously draped silk looked as if it were fashioned from a dream. The tulle trains and ruffled mermaid hems gave the pieces such fluidity it was hard to remember a spring breeze was not actually blowing across the runway. And although many dresses featured floral prints, they were far from predictable. Rather, the juxtaposition of heavy and light, satin and sheer textiles emanated a refreshing quality of youthful grace.

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Valentino F/W 16-17

As usual, Valentino never fails to impress. Alongside Christian Siriano and Elie Saab, Valentino consistently creates collections that appear among my favourites. This year, inspiration was clearly drawn from the classical ballerina. Each piece alluded to the graceful lines and distinctive movement of the Apollonian art form, but resisted crossing the fine line into costume territory.

The show began with sombre colours and highly structured looks, placing heavy emphasis on the coats and leather accessories. The influence of traditional ballet costumes still shone through, however, in the tulle skirts and characteristic scoop necklines, which continually resurfaced throughout the show. The use of a dark palette and ‘tough’ materials to reflect the airy elegance of the modern ballerina was also a pleasantly surprising twist. The opening piece (first image above) was a nod to the recent trend of layering cropped sweaters over dress shirts, albeit exaggerated for the runway.

The looks then quickly transitioned to blushing nudes and gentle pastels, shades more stereotypically associated with classical ballet. Yet despite the muted tones, the sheer, floating dresses were by no means old-fashioned. A selection were crafted from single washes of colour, directing the spotlight entirely to the ethereal movement of the gowns.

Saving the most dramatic for last, the show closed with the most exquisite, fantastical looks. Swirls of glistening, diaphanous fabrics adorned the final models. Accompanied by a live pianist, this season’s collection was delicately luxurious and quietly stunning.

All images courtesy of Valentino. To view the full show, click here.