In pictures: Valentino haute couture show

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Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli may have not been the first to look out of their window at the joys of a flower-fuelled spring for inspiration for their couture collection for the house of Valentino, but they did so with pure grace and finesse which was truly enchanting.

Their trip into garden started with the wrought-iron fence, interpreted into scrolls of crepe piping which swirled on layers upon layers of nude organza tulle in the shape of floor-sweeping gowns and full-length capes - which appeared like cages encasing the shoulders, worn over dresses embroidered with fluttering birds. 

The delicate colour palette of powdery ivory, nude, white and blue chimed perfectly with the delicate, feminine fabrics of lace, silk, tulle and organza which laid the perfect foundation for the embellishments of hand-painted beads, ruffles, ruching and embroidery. 

You may fail to notice at first the meticulous craftmanship of these gowns, clubbing them together with the ready-to-wear collections, but look closely and the exquisite detailing and cut is second to none. One such ivory wool dress embroidered with delicate country seed flowers - each bloom different to the next - took 550 hours to complete the decoration alone.

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