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Best shows from Paris Couture spring 2017 Day 3: Maison Margiela, Elie Saab, Viktor&Rolf, Valentino and Guo Pei

Paris couture fashion week

Best shows from Paris Couture spring 2017 Day 3: Maison Margiela, Elie Saab, Viktor&Rolf, Valentino and Guo Pei
Wrapping up Paris couture fashion week in top form are Maison Margiela, Elie Saab, Viktor&Rolf, Valentino and Guo Pei

MAISON MARGIELA: THE TALENTED MR. GALLIANO
The collection: Not even the bitter cold currently plaguing the streets of Paris could keep the fashion crowd from celebrating John Galliano's latest 'artisanal' collection for Maison Margiela. A truly exceptional outing that seemed to cause the entire industry to rave about it, this season was filled with the same sort of creativity we haven't seen from the creative director in too many years. It's like we didn't even know what we were missing all this time, until the first model walked down the catwalk yesterday morning wearing his signature deconstructed garments. With extra-tall hats, partially obscuring hats and headscarves, and several unconventional and ultra-creative silhouettes, this collection flaunts the Galliano quirk we've missed so much.

Buro loves: The abstract beauty looks by makeup mastermind, Pat McGrath made the perfect companion to John Galliano's highly creative collection. This season, it was all about glossy cheekbones, 3D wiring, thick dustings of pigments in crimson and cerulean, and vinyl lips. Sure, it's not really a look you can do at home (unless you have your own 3D printer standing by), but wow!

Favourite looks: It's got to be a tie between the floor-sweeping white coat with a cloud of black chiffon folded into the outline of a face (look 24), and the rainbow-barfing Snapchat filter adorned translucent coat (look 7).

ELIE SAAB: EGYPTIAN ELEGANCE
The collection: Our second show of the day, Elie Saab's Egypt-inspired couture collection, called to mind a long-lost era of golden, glimmering glamour — a transformative age in Egyptian and Arabian cinema of the early 1900s. This was Old Hollywood elegance at its best (and most dazzling), where elaborate gowns appeared on yesterday's catwalk as sheer confections in blush, white and blue, while decked in gold-beaded embroidery, embellished in geometric crystal formations, or adorned with blue-sequin water motifs straight from the Nile.

Favourite looks: Elie Saab may have offered up hoards of options for us to consider this season, but it was his two high-shine favourites — a blush tulle gown with golden palm motifs (look 51), and a long-sleeve blush dress with a blue, gold and silver palm-sunburst effect (look 56) — that we just can't wait to see worn by some lucky leading lady in the weeks to come.

Lesson learnt: There are countless reasons the name Elie Saab has become such a staple on the red carpet over the years. Whether it's the fit, the colour, the undeniable elegance, he never disappoints in the pursuit of the perfect, spotlight-ready gown. Not so much a lesson learnt, but a fact this collection reiterated flawlessly.

VIKTOR&ROLF: THRIFT STORE COUTURE
The collection: When designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren say "pulled from the archives," they aren't talking about some older garment that would go on to inspire a new creation. No, it's more likely they deconstructed that item and formed something entirely new with it. As far as couture goes, Viktor&Rolf are kings of upcycling.

This season, instead of relying on their own scraps from past collections, they've reached out and adopted vintage cocktail dresses and evening gowns — some dating back to the Forties —as their main source of fabrics. After a process of deconstruction and reconstruction, their final result is what you see below: A collection of conscious couture.

Favourite looks: Extra-voluptuous ball gowns with surreal shapes scattered across dense layers of white or candy-hued tulle (looks 28-32).  

Something you might not have known: Notice the gold Lurex embroidery showing up throughout? Apparently that was inspired by the Japanese idea of kintsugi, a philosophy in which when repairing broken pottery, the cracks once mended are only accentuated to showcase how beautiful their faults are.

VALENTINO: A FRESH NEW LOOK
The collection: For his first couture outing as a singular unit, creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli sent out free-form gowns and ethereal options, each a super-light wisp of couture craftsmanship with delicate floral appliqué, vertical ruffles or soft knife pleating. Compared to last season's Shakespeare-inspired opulence, this collection is 'understated extravagance' at its best, with high necks, hidden waists, gentle plissés and soft chiffons.

Favourite look: Piccioli may have traded his layered laces and hand-painted graphics for a clean slate, but he didn't let his technical skills go to waste: Muted tones and soft shapes balance expert braiding, hand embroidery and pleating. Aside from pops of red (look 31 & 55) and pink (look 53), we absolutely loved the whole austere-goddess vibe of pastel hues (looks 12, 43 & 45) and super-delicate details (looks 5, 27, 44, 46 & 58).

Buro loves: It's not often that you get to see a couture collection that abides to the saying "less is more," but that's exactly what's going on here: Less is more, but that doesn't mean it's easy or simple. Picciolo only proved himself as a top-notch minimalist with this scarce (and yet elaborate) collection.

GUO PEI: ECCLESIASTIC EXTRAVAGANCE
The venue: Not exactly a place known for happier occasions, the Conciergerie is where Marie-Antoinette was imprisoned during the French Revolution, and where she would spend her final days before being sent to the guillotine. Perhaps it was the ghost of the late queen herself that inspired Chinese couturier, Guo Pei to send out a luminescent first look: A larger-than-life glow-in-the-dark gown made from white plastic strips, complete with a crown and a very-ghostly candelabra.

The collection: Guo Pei shocked (and perhaps bewildered) the crowds in Paris yesterday, with a collection so dramatic that some guests are now criticising it for being too costume-y. While we'll allow them that opinion when considering the first look (the apparition gown mentioned earlier), the rest of the collection seemed over the top in the way you'd like more haute couture collections to be. Since the models often couldn't walk in their towering platforms, they geisha-stepped their way around a circular catwalk in a procession of medieval-inspired masterpieces.

Favourite look: Initially influenced by the murals at St. Gallen Cathedral in Switzerland, this season's gowns had an overall papal-monarchy vibe to it, complete with crowns, crosses, and veils. Throughout, Guo Pei's signature and fantastical craftsmanship appeared as extravagant jewel embroideries, cinched corsets and one particularly bedazzled domed headpiece (look 18) that called to mind the papal tiara worn by popes of the Roman Catholic Church as early as the 8th century. It was so sparkly, so lux, and so pointless; exactly why we love haute couture so much.

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See all our coverage of Paris Haute Couture fashion week spring 2017

Brent Taalur Ramsey

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