LAST season's couture shows were certainly an eventful bunch: Jean Paul Gaultier showed his controversial Amy Winehouse-inspired collection; Bill Gaytten presented what would (although he didn't know it yet), be his final couture collection for Christian Dior; Karl Lagerfeld took us on Air Chanel, complete with Chanel trolley dollies and illuminated numbered seats; Donatella Versace brought her Atelier line back to the couture schedule for the first time since 2004; Giambattista Valli made his debut as a fully-fledged couturier (after appearing as a guest the season before); Stéphane Rolland enlisted Yasmin Le Bon as his show's "bride"; Alexis Mabille painted each of his models' faces a different colour; and Riccardo Tisci took his Givenchy girls to unfamiliar fashion territory - the basketball court.
So what to expect from this season? Raf Simons debut at Dior, surely the most talked-about fashion ascension ever, will fittingly be for couture; where the brand's founder made his name. Simons is a couture rookie - although his final show for Jil Sander proved he's got what it takes - but the fashion world is holding its breath to see what the new age will hold. It's all change at Versace too, where Donatella will not only present her couture collection via a show for the first time since 2002, but will also debut the label's brand newAtelier Versace jewellery collection.
The Week begins with Atelier Versace on Sunday night, then Monday sees Simons' Christian Dior debut followed by others including Alexis Mabille and Giambattista Valli. Tuesday brings Chanel, Stéphane Rolland, Giorgio Armani Privé and Givenchy to the catwalk, before Elie Saab, Jean Paul Gaultier, Valentino and Maison Martin Margiela bring proceedings to an end on Wednesday.