The couture shows kicked off earlier this week in Paris with Schiaparelli, and while a pillar of the Schiaparelli maison is surrealism, it was Maria Grazia Chiuri who included many a trompe l’oeil in her couture show for Dior. Graphic black and white were employed throughout the collection, as well as on the much-Instagrammed checkerboard Dior tent pitched on the grounds of the Musée Rodin where the collection was presented. The Giambattista Valli couture show is always a crowd-pleaser, and the designer’s tiered finale gowns (shown with flats!) were a spectacle to be had. Speaking of crowd-pleasing, Karl Lagerfeld, donning a new beard, presented the Chanel couture collection at the Grand Palais, where, as always, the collection closed with the Chanel bride, who wore a waistcoat, pants, and a chic feathered cape. Whether or not the designer meant to add to the current conversation about female empowerment or not, the bridal suiting look was a welcome change. Alexandre Vauthier’s couture collection was as sexy as one could hope for, and he debuted new avant-garde matrix-like sunglasses in collaboration with Alain Mikli. Towards the end of couture week, John Galliano wowed show-goers during Maison Margiela Artisinal with his use of tech-fabric that responded to the presence and retraction of light from camera phones. However, it was Pierpaolo Piccioli at Valentino who truly reminded everyone that this week was supposed to celebrate the craft of couture. With a dash of feathers and tailored wide leg pants, he single-handedly made couture feel modern. And to that we say, bravo.