It's the show everyone's talking about, so let's start with Saint Laurent. Looks were walked, salon-style and sans soundtrack down the stairs of the label's new couture-specific house, with a woman's voice announcing look numbers in French and English, as would have been done in Monsieur Laurent's time.
The collection itself was something of a flashback. Replete with Siouxsie-Sioux make-up (brutally black-rimmed smoky eyes, a tight red lip) and retro, pointed heels, the presentation ruminated heavily on the cocktail mini dress. Huge, sculptural, winged shoulders arched up and away from the body as '80s power shoulders so often do, (for one red fur jacket, curving up, around and diving down to a point creating a fluffy heart shape) and hemlines were almost gynaecologically short. Shiny surfaces featured heavily whether in sequins (snakeskin prints of particular note) lurex, PVC or metallic silk satin and the mostly-black collection was punctuated with bursts of hot pink, solar yellow and electric blue.
Over to Stella McCartney, where a soundtrack of Snaxx 'Get Yo' Tofu On' accompanied a suitably cruelty free collection; parkas (free of feather stuffing) were the star of the show, swans swam serenely in printed flocks over trousers and shirts and, as always, her covetable 'leather' extras - block-heeled pointed toe shoes, new-gen trainers, fold-over clutches and scrunched totes. We are well acquainted with McCartney's views on sartorial veganism as we are with her clever, practical, chic - both were on blast for her A/W '16 show.
Also known for her particular brand of chic - this time, so Frenchy - Sonia Rykiel delivered a collection of classic wardrobe staples with an unmistakably Gallic twist. Slouchy suiting was worn décontracté with hands in pockets, fur sprouted from the top of suit jackets, coats, on the sleeves of pussy bow blouses, cuffs and plackets and ruffles cascaded down the skirts of dresses. The house's signature stripes featured heavily in early stories of the range, to be reborn in sequins towards the finale. A classic palette of red, Bordeaux, marine, cornflower blue and Burmese gold finished a beautifully wearable collection.
That same shade of Burmese gold spilled over into Hermès' collection, although that is perhaps where the similarities ended. Cut into boxy shapes and softly utilitarian suiting, the collection remained true to the brand's foundations of timeless luxury in minimalist, sculptural shapes. And, though covering the body from neck to ankle, the liquid silk, bias-cut gowns rounding out the finale were as sexy as could be.
Finally, at Giambattista Valli, the designer stuck to his MO of catering to his famous clientele (Rihanna, Amal Clooney et al) with red-carpet ready ruffled gowns and flouncy, floaty shorter styles. Liberty florals and frippery aside, the collection was wearable on a street level courtesy of streamlined silhouettes, tapping into a New Romantics trend seen across A/W '16.