Valentino Couture SS13

Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli's collection of grace, beauty and the garden

Fashion Show
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Dior, Chanel and Valentino all referenced gardens or the beauty of the outdoors for their SS13 collections. When anything happens thrice, you're looking at a trend, and it could be the vastness of nature is a great match for the mind-blowing craftsmanship of couture, too big to be rationalised. What was great was seeing how each house used the theme in their own way.

Turn the pages of Valentino's show notes, loosely bound on bible paper – couture is a religion, after all – and here a sense of awe was captured in antique gold ink.

Look three, "Le théâtre des jeux" dress in camellia crêpe, took 900 hours to realise, entirely by hand back in the label's Rome atelier. Look seven, the "Contempler le matin" in embroidered ferronnerie wool and triple lilac used 80 meters of 'queues de rat' for the cage/ironwork ornamentation.

Those were two looks out of 48. By the end dresses were stalking the salons of the Hôtel de Salomon Rothschild that had 2,500 hours of embroidery spent on them.

This was done with such a lightness of touch, perfection perfectly executed, that belied the shifting of heaven and earth that went into making the clothes. A week after presenting a lovely, 60s film noir menswear collection at the same location, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli returned with their finest moment yet.

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