Ralph&Russo, Giambattista Valli and Alexis Mabille rise to the occasion at Haute Couture Week in Paris

There was pomp and ceremony on the catwalks of Paris on Monday night, as some of the biggest couture houses showed off their starry collections for Spring 2016.

Ralph & Russo 2016 spring/summer Haute Couture-AFP / Patrick Kovarik

First up was the UK-based house Ralph&Russo, whose fairytale extravaganza of cocktail dresses and ball gowns was as enchanting as it was on-point. A sweet palette of candy pinks, navy blues, neutrals and metallics let the fabrics do the talking, with satin bodices, boxy ostrich jackets and lacy structured peplums all on show. From the full-length gloves embroidered with floral patterns to a semi-sheer gown splattered with silver leaves, this was a springtime collection based on sweetness and light, with a healthy dash of red carpet glamour thrown in for good measure.

Flowers were also the starting point for the Italian house of Giambattista Valli, whose botanic collection opened with a series of ruffled mini dresses embroidered with summery sprigs and evolved into a heavenly collection of frothy chiffon folds, billowing trains and cascading organza layers. From droopy puff sleeves that hung like spring buds to tulle skirts that flared out like blossoming bouquets, the efflorescent theme could be seen as much in the delicate structure of the pieces as in their charmed patterns.

Things were slightly less frothy but no less graceful over at Alexis Mabille, where a largely monochrome palette provided the basis for a very modern collection. From pleated strapless tops with asymmetric hemlines that grazed the ankle to maxi-length silk shirt dresses, this was a red carpet collection that pushed the boundaries in terms of proportion and detail, using a flash of white fringing to draw the eye to the bottom hemline of a black evening dress, or pairing simple white jeans with an outrageously outsized ruffled jacket. With its caped dresses and cartoon-style bows, the show was an exercise in luxury couture for the fearless.

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