SCHIAPARELLI: LIONS, TIGERS & BEARS
The collection: Elsa Schiaparelli is a tricky act to follow. Her iconic legacy and unmatched talent for blending surrealism with the avant-garde, and even the wearable, has resulted in the still much-anticipated revival of her eponymous label. Easily one of the most talked about collections from day two, Schiaparelli's fall 2016 couture collection — and Bertrand Guyon's third couture outing as creative director — was inspired by the circus show in summer 1938, and managed to bring the late designer from out of the past and into the modern world.
Favourite looks: Elegant, streamlined, but most importantly, authentic to Schiaparelli's own eccentric creative direction, this season's couture offerings appeared with extreme architectural shoulders (looks 2, 3, 13, 15), some of which were presented with bold padding (looks 34 & 35), encrusted with precious gems (looks 16 & 18), or both (look 36). But, as it was a circus-themed collection, it wouldn't have been complete without the lions, tigers and bears (looks 30 & 31), or the ringleader (looks 7 & 25).
In attendance: Downton Abbey's Laura Carmichael sat next to real-life nobility Lady Kitty Spencer during yesterday's show at Hotel d'Evreux, steps away from the label's iconic Place Vendôme townhouse. Our very own Buro 24/7 founder Miroslava Duma was also there in great company, with actress Natalie Dormer and editor Carine Roitfeld.
CHRISTIAN DIOR: ICONIC MINIMALISM
The collection: In an intimate salon at 30 Avenue Montaigne in Paris, Maison Dior hosted their seasonal return to the couture lineup yesterday with a fall 2016 collection void of colour. It seems appropriate that this season's show would take place in the salon where Christian Dior presented his first show in 1947; almost seventy years later, under the interim leadership of design heads Lucie Meyer and Serge Ruffieux, we await the label's impending announcement of a successor and the start of a new era for the iconic fashion house. But, that wasn't to interfere with yesterday's black-and-white collection, which appeared in a range signature shapes and silhouettes. The result? A much more minimalist approach to Dior's long-followed codes of design, occasionally brightened with silver and gold embroidery.
In attendance: Dior's brand ambassador Marion Cotillard looked lovely sitting on the front row at yesterday's show next to model Natalia Vodianova. A short distance away was singer Céline Dion wearing a dramatic all-black ensemble complete with Dior blazer, leather leggings and gloves — no doubt one of the many recent successes by Dion's new stylist Law Roach.
Try this now: Unlike Atelier Versace's ice blue cat-eyes from day one, Dior's makeup spokeswoman Bella Hadid was sent down the runway in a deep-V black dress and matching black cat-eyes in look 23 (and see cover image above). Is the cat-eye back for good? We'd like to think so.
RALPH & RUSSO: RED CARPET READY
The collection: A favourite among the red carpet crowd, Ralph & Russo's Tamara Ralph & Michael Russo have garnered the attention of Beyoncé, Angelina Jolie and countless others, making them one of the most highly anticipated shows of the season. Every collection boasts elegant silhouettes and romantic femininity, and this season was certainly no different. Draped satins and floor-sweeping organza appeared with voluminous frills. Silken silhouettes were hand-painted with autumnal blooms. And, their signature cocoon capes hit the runway with iridescent beauty as part of a collection entirely ready for the red carpet.
The finale: No Ralph & Russo couture show would be complete without the final bridal gown, and this season didn't disappoint. Though in past seasons, they've sent out exaggerated trains that required at least five men to maneuver toward the end of the runway, this season they opted for a more independent bride. A white tulle fishtail gown, embroidered luxuriously with silk thread-work, crystals, glass beads and pearls, with a silk organza and feather-flower appliqué cape. Now, how's that for a finale?
Worth the investment: After yesterday's show, we can't help but be obsessed with the oversize hats in autumnal prints (looks 10 & 15), bold burgundy (look 17) and stark whites (looks 30 & 31), and the gorgeous appliqué bomber jackets in pale pink (look 27) and midnight blue (look 36).
GIAMBATTISTA VALLI: COUTURE CONFECTIONARY
The collection: Sweet and delicate, but this season lacked a major feature from Giambattista Valli's couture repertoire — flowers. Though they could still be found as embroidered motifs and subtle prints earlier in the collection, the Italian designer preferred to explore the volumes of tulle and the billowing bells of chiffon for an overall confectionary level of couture craftsmanship. Complete with puffs of silk taffeta, meringues of satin, and whipped ruffles of organza, this collection will undoubtedly satisfy any woman's sweet tooth.
In attendance: Céline Dion is definitely enjoying her new-found status as a style icon, making Giambattista Valli's fall 2016 couture show her second event of the day. Still in the mood for mostly black, she sported a black-and-white blazer and skirt combo with a matching black-lace top. A second undeniably sweet concoction by her new stylist.
Buro loves: Valli went all out with tulle this season, finishing the collection with three voluptuous, and decidedly delicious couture confections. With layers upon layers, and ruffles upon ruffles, here's a perfect example of a dramatic finale trio you can't help but love.
Best shows from Paris Couture fall 2016 Day 1: Ulyana Sergeenko, Guo Pei and Atelier Versace
For all our coverage of Paris Couture Fashion Week FW16, click here.