The magic of the Paris haute couture week has been and gone, leaving behind some truly jaw-dropping gems that continue to transform the fashion world while giving couture a refreshed relevance.
Perhaps we can thank the never-ending flow of successful perfumes for this renaissance of couture insofar as Jean-Paul Gaultier and Viktor & Rolf have both eschewed ready-to-wear and in doing so have given themselves greater creative freedom with their couture lines.
We've chosen our favourite collections from the week but the whole season this year was a series of wonderful visions that are certainly worth a look.
Assemblage, pastiche and reconstruction were all themes present in these bizarre creations by Maison Margiela although the signature hand of newly appointed John Galliano didn't seem to be as present as it was during his time at Dior - take Fall 2010 Couture as an example.
Rather, the symbiotic balance between the faceless designers at the notoriously silent house and the brash, loud designer himself seems to be a great match with these astonishing pieces marking a new stage for the label, and for Galliano's reputation.
Muses sound more like an relic from the past than a modern idea, something we associate more with renaissance masters than contemporary designers. But muses are still an integral part of the creative process for many designers including Alexis Mabille.
This season's collection was inspired by his favourite muses from Dita von Teese to the pregnant Morgane Dubled and the more mature Leslie Caron and Mounia Orosemane, all of whom represent varying stages of a woman's life and together affirm beauty at each of these stages.
Clothing is a moving, wearable art but this season Viktor & Rolf took this old adage as a literal brief. Framed painted canvases were deconstructed and abstracted into garments that were again transformed live on the runway.
Given the performative nature of this collection, it's essential to see the pieces move and become reconstructed into more traditional artworks that hang on a wall. Truly amazing. The two designers have a long history of incorporating performance into their work, just check out their RTW Fall 2010 collection.
Jean-Paul Gaultier presented his final ready-to-wear collection last season and it served as a sort of retrospective cum grand farewell so it's not so surprising to see him return to the basics once again for his first collection after the curtain fell.
Breton stripes have always been a hallmark of Gaultier's brand and he's plunged himself into this traditional world once again, surfacing with a collection full of exquisite workmanship, vivid colours and crepes. It's never Gaultier without a little humour.
The Dior new look silhouette never strays far from the house's couture line and its demure and flattering lines seem to never fall out of style but rather dive into new visions and reappear fresh and renewed.
Raf Simons's deft hand has brought this silhouette to the forefront of fashion once again but this time it's paired with the finest swing coat/capes featuring sumptuous asymmetrical sleeves and ever-so-slightly 70s forms that blur time and memory into fluid lines that flow like his chiffon dresses.