11 Of The Best Couture Spring 2016 Looks

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For many editors and luxury clothing enthusiasts, couture week is the highlight of the fashion calendar. It's a celebration of exquisite craftsmanship, where each garment that is showcased is worth tens, if not hundreds, of thousands and is meticulously made by artisans in the ateliers for weeks on end. If you thought your favourite frock was beautifully made, you haven't seen anything until you've seen the intricate details and precision of a couture piece. The haute couture schedule is the opportunity for the world's leading designers and fashion houses to present their most opulent ideas, unrestrained by budgets.

During its zenith, following Christian Dior’s introduction of the New Look silhouette in 1947, there were roughly 20,000 haute couture customers around the globe. Now those numbers have dropped to just a few thousand, yet the couture circuit continues, with even more glitz and glamour than 70 years ago.

So how did Couture Week Spring 2016 compare? Well, first and foremost, all eyes were on Dior, as the French fashion house presented its first collection since the shocking departure of Creative Director Raf Simons last October. However, Karl Lagerfeld ensured he had his fair share under the spotlight, transforming the Grand Palais into a breathtaking zen Norwegian garden for his first foray into eco-couture at Chanel, where the Hadid sisters made their couture modelling debut.

As the curtain closes on this couture season, we've curated some of the most stunning moments for your viewing pleasure. Click through to see...
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Atelier Versace

If anyone can seamlessly fuse sexy and couture it's Donatella Versace. This season she gave us full-on fire with cutaways, Swarovski embellishment, plunging necklines and lots of exposed skin. Add the sexiest supermodels into the mix – like Behati Prinsloo, Joan Smalls and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley – and it doesn't get hotter than that.
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Chanel

Lineisy Montero is undoubtedly the model of the moment and naturally, she looked flawless at the Chanel couture show in a shimmering sleeveless green gown that perfectly complemented the grass-covered catwalk. Though we probably couldn't afford a cm squared of the gown, we've got our eye on the embellished pouches, perfect for our smartphones.
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Yacine Aouadi

Pretty much all of the brands on the couture schedule are household names but Yacine Aouadi, a new addition to the luxury fashion week, is the one to watch. Yacine previously worked at Balmain under Christophe Decarnin and Olivier Rousteing before establishing his own line in July 2015.

Cate Blanchett wore a look from his last couture collection for the New York premiere of Carol, cementing his status as the new name to drop. This collection was infused with the spirit of the 1920s, inspired by Charlotte Rampling in The Damned. Très chic.
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Dior

The fashion world waited with baited breath for Dior's first offering since Raf Simons' departure late last year. Though the latest couture collection was slightly lacking in drama and opulence, we'll be incorporating the off-the-shoulder silhouette into our wardrobes come spring.
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Giambattista Valli

Giambattista Valli also proved how off-the-shoulder is the most flattering and feminine silhouette for one and all. Though there were plenty of sumptuous ruffles, florals, embroidery, appliqués, sequins, bows and tulle, this understated romantic mini was our standout.
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Maison Martin Margiela

For the Margiela couture show, John Galliano paid tribute to the late, great David Bowie, following in the footsteps of many designers who did so over men's fashion month. Models wore vividly coloured mullets and striking beauty looks created by Pat McGrath. The glam rock influence was also evident in colourful knee-high boots, bold jumpsuits and metallic embroidery. May the music and fashion legend live on.
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Elie Saab

To be honest, we'd take one of everything from the Elie Saab couture collection (if we came across a gold mine) but the real showstopper was worn by the inimitably graceful model Anna Cleveland. Saab cited his inspiration as Lilah Winfield, an early 20th-century Anglo-Irish aristocrat whose diaries and photographs vividly documented the days of the Raj and no one looked more regal and breathtaking than Cleveland in the glittering gown and matching headscarf.
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Jean Paul Gaultier

JPG's couture show was an ode to "the most beautiful platinum angel I ever met," namely Edwige Belmore, who died of liver failure aged 58 in September last year. The musician became the unofficial leader of Paris’s punk movement and also did the door at Le Palace, the coolest club in town. Soon after Belmore met Gaultier, they became the best of friends and Edwige subsequently walked in his 1979 Bond show.

This week, Gaultier recreated Le Palace in a tribute to his beloved Belmore as models stepped out to the sounds of David Bowie and Grace Jones. Brit model and Burberry regular, Amber Anderson hit the catwalk in this stunning one-shouldered black leather dress with a lace and mesh trim, gloves, a tie, red lips and plenty of attitude.
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Valentino

If you ever dreamt of being a medieval maiden in a stunning embroidered velvet tunic or a Grecian goddess in an ethereal gown as a little girl, then the Valentino couture collection is the stuff of your dreams.

Models emerged in divine dresses; some were pleated while others were crafted from sumptuous tapestry patchworks. Others wore kimono-inspired coats, lined in mink and opulent embroidery. One powder rose gown with embellished organza details took 2,800 hours to create. A modern-day masterpiece.
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Armani

Armani took us under the sea in a collection that centred on iridescent and pearlescent shades of lilac and pastel blue. With a plunging neckline, glittering top and frothy, shimmering skirt, this dress is truly fit for a princess.
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Ralph & Russo

Just two years ago Ralph & Russo became the first British couture label in a century to be considered suitably skilled to officially join the Paris haute schedule. Though they may be new additions, they're dab hands at old-school glamour and how glamorous does Arizona Muse look in this strapless, floor-sweeping gown befitting of a fairytale queen.
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