In a season dominated by nature and, in particular, gardens, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli's interpretation of the theme for Valentino haute couture was among the most beautiful. And, here again, lightness was at the heart of that. However heavily worked a dress may be it must appear weightless or at least that is the thinking for now.
The story began with the Rococo curlicues of wrought iron gates embroidered onto elegant and perfectly cut ivory tailoring and continued to include the delicate colour palette of an Eighteenth Century garden - palest lilac, hawthorn, blush pink - and blossom appliqued and embroidered again across more overblown lace, organza and chiffon designs.
If the selling point of haute couture is exclusivity over and above anything as mundane as a trend then this was expressed throughout. Look closely at an ivory silk cocktail dress finished with clusters of tiny, pearlescent beads in fondant hues and discover that no two groupings are the same. The edges of row upon row of fluttering silk petals, meanwhile, were hand massaged so they frayed just so.
If last season's collection courtesy of these increasingly accomplished designers was almost austere, this time around purity - and innocence over and above experience - was the over-riding mood and a more gentle vision was upheld throughout. And that was lovely to see.
Certainly any bright and beautiful young woman for whom budget is no object would do well to shop for her bridal gown here.
According to Women's Wear Daily, Valentino is investing in its couture operation
both in terms of staffing and the opulence of the collections themselves. There was a time, in Valentino Garavani's own heyday, when this Rome-based house boasted the largest atelier of them all after all. "When we want to present the real Valentino, haute couture is always top of our minds," said CEO Stefano Sassi last week.